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by Danny Boggs
AM radio. Regular coffee. Snail mail. What do these phrases have in common? They are retronyms. Radio was once just radio, not “AM,” “FM” or “satellite.” Coffee was plainly coffee before decaf and cappuccino appeared. The postman brought all our mail before there was e-mail. Retronyms signal the arrival of something new and usually better.
“New Testament church” is a retronym, too. Had men not multiplied religious bodies and called them “Christian,” the phrase would be needless. Jesus built only one church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4). The day of Pentecost depicted in Acts 2 marked its beginning. Those who gladly received the gospel that day repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38,41).