Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Do I Need a New Name?

A selection from a letter by missionary William Carey to Andrew Fuller, one of the leading pastors in England that supported his work in India. Carey explained to Fuller how they looked for preaching gifts among those whom the Lord had saved. Mention was made of Krishna Pal who became a leading worker in the mission. He also wrote about their policy not to change the names of the converts to “Christian” names, thus Krishna, whose name came from a Hindu deity, was not given a new name. The letter was written August 4, 1801.

It has been the custom with the Moravians to give new Names to those who were converted from the Heathens. We had some consultations about it. I opposed it because I thought there was no connection between baptism and giving names but principally because it does [not] appear to have been the primitive practice to change the names of those who believed, for among the primitive Christians we have Sylvanus, Olympus, Hermes, Nereus, Fortunatus and others which are evidently Heathen names. Our Brethren [are] convinced in the opinion that it is unnecessary and, therefore, we have not proposed it. This we should recommend to them not to name any more children with Heathenistic names.

The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey, collected and edited by Terry G. Carter, Smyth & Helwys, 2000, p. 173.

No comments: