Question Text: There is a recent convert to Christ out of Islam and he feels that he needs to change his name and I am urging him not to. He lives in Yemen and I feel it would put his life in danger and I feel that he can be a testimony for the Lord with a Muslim name. Can you give me some advice to share with him, please. Thanks, Ralph
Answer Text: It is true that God has changed the names of a few people in the Bible. Notable ones are Abraham and Jacob in the Old Testament and Peter in the New Testament. But if we were to look at the names of the New Testament, majority of them, yes indeed, very few ever changed their own names, I can give you dozens of examples of pure Greek and Roman names which have no religious significance at all. For example the name Philip means ‘lover of horse’. Luke means light etc. Please look through all the NT names and you will hardly find any one who changed their names. God changed the names of a few only and the number of those whose names were changed could be easily counted on fingers while numerous names are found in the NT. So God does not require a name change if some one was to follow Christ. Look at it this way. Some one with a Muslim name can go as a Muslim and be accepted as such in the society. And it gives an opportunity for him to witness personally to all who will come into contact with him. But if he changes his name and accepts a so-called Christian name (remember that there are no christian names. They were either Jewish, Greek or Roman names of people who followed Christ), he is likely to be isolated from society and some times he is in the danger of getting killed for openly challenging their age old tradition. Our Lord taught us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump and we all know that leaven does not remain isolated in the lump to perform its function. Again, we are the salt of the earth. As long as salt remains isolated it can not savor food. May your friend see this truth and may he continue to be known by his original name as name is not what makes a person a Christian but his faith and His inner character. God bless.