What Makes “In Jesus’ Name” So Offensive?

Neal Pollard

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.

3 thoughts on “What Makes “In Jesus’ Name” So Offensive?

  1. kenandjean92

    It really hurts that you can’t say anything about anybody without being offensive unless you’re a Christian then everything is fair game. In one of our counties here in NC the ACLU has a started a big law suit against the county board of commissioners for opening their meetings with a Christian prayer. There has been many Christians from the surrounding areas coming in protest to support the commissioners in their stand for Christian prayer. I diligently pray that this country will wake up before it’s to late and turn back to following God 2 Chr 7:14

  2. jokedude01

    I know that I’m supposed to want this country to ‘turn back’ to God (as though the US was the new Israel), but there is some tiny part of me that kinda of wants the country to turn as far away from him as possible. And here’s why: The gospel is not about being in charge or running the show. It’s not about having the right to say, “In Jesus’ name” during a prayer. The gospel thrives the strongest when Christians are not in control. The gospel spread like wildfire when Rome ran the world. So let the US become the new Rome, and let the gospel spread.

    1. I’m not so sure it’s the nation I’m concerned with as much as the people in it (as well as those all around the world) who are heading toward eternity. Living in this nation, I have my best daily shot at reaching those in the U.S. I find myself telling the distressed around me the same thing you are saying; that is, Rome ruled when the church was established and it faced stiff opposition from that very government (to the point of persecution and martyrdom). Yet the gospel spread. My point was to question why people have such an aversion to Christ, though it’s certainly because of the exclusivity of His message (Jn. 14:6). Thanks for taking the time to comment, Parker.

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