But, what if we took that riddle and applied it to other things? Does calling something a word necessarily mean that the object is that?
If I called the computer on which I am writing this a cup of coffee, does it make it a cup of coffee? - I guess the argument could be made that you'd simply be defining the term "cup of coffee" in another way, but let's be honest, it wouldn't change the fact that the computer is a computer!
No, what something is matters, what you call it matters little.
What about when it comes to faiths?
The fact is, it works the same way! Just because someone calls themselves, or is called by others, a Christian, for example, doesn't mean that the person in question is, in fact, a Christian. This is because there are certain guidelines to that word, specifically. And those guidelines are to be the determining factor in one's Christianity, not the name that they or anyone else place on them.
"How many legs does a sheep have if you call his leg a tail? - Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one."
Let's go one step further, however. Does a person who holds to some facet of those seven ones and has some sort of obedient faith in Christ hold the title given in Acts 11:26 to those disciples and all subsequent disciples of Christ? I don't believe so! The reason is very simple, those seven ones and the name given to the true disciples of Jesus Christ are exclusive in nature. Paul wasn't saying that we can pick and chose a few of the seven things inEphesians 4:5-6, nor was he saying that we can make up our own definitions of those words as if to change a sheep's tail to a leg. We have to go back to the Bible, the standard, and find out the definitions for those words and there we will find the actual points in which unity is found!
But, what are those definitions? Without going into too much detail here are the Biblical definitions for Ephesians 4:5-6 and the articles of unity:
- Body - The church of Christ for which He died, over which He reigns and through which He lives on earth (Ephesians 1:22-23)
- Spirit - The part of the Godhead who was influential in the inspiration of the Divine book, the instructions for mankind (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 1:21, 2 Timothy 3:!6-17)
- Hope - The earnest expectation of redemption through obedience to the Spirit's word and membership in the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:15-20)
- Lord - The One which died for that one body, sent the Spirit, brought hope to mankind and is the Master of the Christian's life (Ephesians 6:5-9, 5:22-23)
- Faith & Baptism - A mental acknowledgment of the facts about the Lord and a physical obedience to the commands of such culminating in one's being immersed for the forgiveness of his sins in accordance with the Spirit's Book at which time he is added to the one body and has that one hope (Ephesians 1:7, 15, 2:8, 3:12, 4:5,6:16, 6:23)
- God & Father - The Planner of all of the above! The part of the Godhead under which the Lord placed Himself when coming to earth and who told the Spirit what to exercise when writing the Bible (Ephesians 3:2).d
There you have it, without those definitions and adherence to them we cannot honestly, truthfully, call anyone a Christian. Those that do not meet those definitions may be searching for the Truth, and for that we ought to be thankful and willing to help them in their study and way, but are not Christians. It might be harsh, but it's truth and sometimes the truth hurts.