November 3, 2016
Volume 20, Number 35
It’s not that Olexander Turin, a 20-year-old native of Ukraine, disliked his name. In fact he may change back to his original name when he has children. For now, however, you should refer to him as iPhone Sim (Seven).
Is this a hoax? Apparently not. The Associated Press published the story on October 28, 2016, saying that he had responded to an electronics store’s promise to give him a new Apple iPhone 7 if he was one of the first five to legally change his name. It cost him about $2 to change his name; in return he received a phone valued at $850.
Something similar happened a little over two years ago in a place not far from where I live. Residents of Lake City, Tennessee voted to change the name of their town (less than 2,000 residents) to Rocky Top, Tennessee. Developers of a proposed theme park promised to locate the park there if the town changed its name.
“Rocky Top”, in case you don’t know, is the title of a song made popular in 1967 by the Osborne Brothers. The University of Tennessee, located not far from Lake City / Rocky Top has long used it as their signature song. It’s a beloved song in these parts.
How about you and me? Would we be willing to change our names if there was some type of award attached? We’re not referring to name changes due to marriage, but a complete change of identity that might carry with it the risk of mockery and ridicule.
Millions have been willing to taken on a new name because of the significant benefits promised. “… And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
Some Bible scholars suggest that the name “Christian” was not originally meant as a compliment. Much of the Greek-speaking world was shocked that people would be willing to devote themselves to a condemned and executed man. Perhaps “Christian” was meant to be an insult.
Peter’s admonition to his fellow disciples makes this theory seem plausible: “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16).
Why would anyone adopt the name Christian, especially if it leads to slander and abuse? Jesus makes the case in Revelation 2:10: “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Much better than a free iPhone, wouldn’t you say?
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
Copyright, 2016, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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