No Other Name
By Theresa Newell, LCJE Coordinator for North America
I have had some new thoughts about two familiar Scriptures. They are Genesis 30:1 and Acts 3 and 4. The first is Rachel’s frustrated plea to Jacob: “Give me children, or I shall die.” The second is Peter’s speech to the Jewish crowd in the Temple precincts and before the Jewish leaders after the lame man at the Beautiful Gate had been healed.
Charles Spurgeon noted that Rachel’s desperate cry for physical children “should be more than matched by the believer’s longing for spiritual children.” He wrote that our object should be to glorify God, and that we do this mainly by winning souls into the Kingdom. In order to do this, we must have right doctrine regarding the Atonement won by Jesus on the Cross. “He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). While we must win souls by declaring the love of God in Christ Jesus, His abounding mercy must never be disconnected from His unerring justice. As my Episcopal church struggles with doctrinal truth and error, I have become keenly aware of the importance of being doctrinally clear, especially as I preach the Gospel. There can be no compromise when it comes to the centrality of Jesus and his completed work on the cross.
This is where I look to Peter’s unswerving clarity in proclaiming the truth before the Jewish leaders of his day. Who healed this lame man? “The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his Son Jesus . . . Faith in Jesus’ name put this man . . . on his feet . . . Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one” (Acts 3:13, 16; 4:12).
When I met with five Jewish leaders in my city of Pittsburgh last year after they publicly objected to our holding the LCJE NA conference in their city, their question to me was “Why can’t you just accept us as we are and leave us alone?” I answered that it was because I, like them, took the Scriptures seriously. It was not to the goyim that Peter preached this sermon or to a goy that Jesus said “you must be born again if you are to see the Kingdom of God” but to Jewish leaders of their day, I told them. I take their words to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Ruach Hakodesh. I told them that I believe that there is no other way, except through the Name and work of Jesus, that any person can be saved, including, the Jewish people. Jesus came to his own first, I said, and as a believer in him, I have instructions to also go first to the Jews with the Good News of his salvation.
May God help us always, especially in this time of secularity, indifference and pluralism, to be clear, uncompromising speakers of the true Gospel.