At Planet Fitness this morning I caught a glimpse of an old “Fresh Prince” episode, where Will Smith’s character was getting married. During the ceremony, the preacher prayed, beginning “Dear Heavenly Father” but ending “in Your Name, Amen.” With the recent controversy about the omission of Jesus’ name in prayers by the Robertsons on the very popular “Duck Dynasty” series, I was surprised that this trend goes back at least a few years. In an interview on YouTube, Phil Robertson talked to producers who surmised that editors in Hollywood thought the name of Jesus, in prayer, would offend some viewers. Certainly, judging from court cases, from the ACLU’s lawsuit against government bodies in North Carolina praying in Jesus’ name at their meetings to Freedom From Religion’s bullying Kanawha County, West Virginia, into ceasing prayer in Jesus’ name before its High School football games. As Annie Laurie Gaynor, co-president of FFR, contended, “We are not a Christian nation, this is not a Christian school district, football games…are not Christian football games” (Dave Boucher, Charleston Daily-Mail, 9/24/12).
Certainly, we understand that we live in a climate of political correctness. That seems to mean that any attempt to honor and glorify Christ in any public way is offensive. Yet, why is such so offensive in certain circles?
- In His name is salvation (Mt. 1:21; Ac. 4:10-12).
- In His name is life (Jn. 20:31).
- In His name is remission of sins (Ac. 2:38).
- In His name is healing (Ac. 3:6).
- In His name is true unity (1 Co. 1:10).
- In His name is justification from sins (1 Co. 6:11).
- In His name is supremacy (Ph. 2:10).
- In His name is authority (Co. 3:17).
Truly, as the songwriter says, “Jesus, name above all names. Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord. Emmanuel, God is with us, blessed Redeemer, living word.” There is something about that name! It is the sweetest name on the tongues of those who know Him. It symbolizes judgment, unwanted accountability, objective standards, and exclusivity for those who refuse to know Him. Rebellion is as old as mankind, but what they are missing who reject His name in life. Some day, at that very name, everyone will be compelled to bow (Ph. 2:10-11). To do so then will be too late. To do so now opens the door to joy here and eternally.