Worthy of the Name
. . . and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
We do not often consider the meaning of the title Christian. It is indeed a title, for it assumes that the bearer of it is associated with Christ. And of all the titles used by men, I know of no other title of nobility that is so often misapplied.
In his book To Call Oneself a Christian, Gregory of Nyssa discussed the tremendous significance of this name. For comparison, he pointed out that though a man may wish to call himself a doctor or a lawyer, he shouldn’t do so unless he is worthy of the title. To be worthy, he must fully understand what the title implies, he must know from experience what he is being called, and he must be practicing the art to which he lays claim. Only then will the title not be a misnomer.
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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.
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