It is one thing when they identify products, something else entirely when they classify people.

Labels are necessary for the purpose of identifying items. In some cases they are a necessary evil. But it is one thing to identify items by the appropriate label so that someone knows what he is buying. It is something entirely different to label people.

Yet, some live and die by the label. They label themselves and everyone else in the world who does not agree with them.

Of course, the labels they choose for themselves are titles of commendation, while the labels they put on others are titles of condemnation. Some use labels to identify or associate with a group because of their inability to express their own viewpoints.

Labels give some people a feeling of security by being linked with great leaders of the past and present. Putting a label on yourself saves one from having to pioneer some “new” idea and thus relieves the burden of criticism by giving one an identity shield to hide behind.

There is no place where labels are any more freely handed out than in some religious circles. We are all acquainted with the terms liberal, modernist, evangelical, neoevangelical, fundamentalist, and so on, ad infinitum, and ad nauseum.

Frankly, I don’t like labels. My main objection is that they tend to link you with people with whom you may only have one thing in common. If I had to choose some “label” to distinguish me in life, my choice would be the simple title “Christian.” The term “Christian” was first used in Antioch (Acts 11:26) to distinguish the followers of Christ. It is really not a label. A label is something you give yourself—a title is something you earn.

Yet there are those who feel that being a Christian is not enough. Since thousands ...

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