Open Letter to Judge Lu Ann Ballew

messiahtennesseeBack in August there was the whole incident where a Judge in Tennessee decided that two parents weren’t allowed to name their kid Messiah. I wrote a letter to her that I never sent. And then another judge overturned it. I’ll share it though.

Honorable Lu Ann Ballew
P. O. Box 70
New Market, TN 37820

Dear Judge Ballew,

I find it unfortunate that the combination of your faith and your ignorance has led you to believe that you have the right to change the first name of a child in a case that had nothing at all to do with it, and in so doing continue to fuel the cultural belief that all of us who follow Jesus the Messiah are ignorant.

Your statement “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ” is simply untrue according to the Bible. Since you’ve studied law, I would assume that it would be important to know all the facts of a case before making a judgement on it. It seems that you’ve not done your due diligence in this case.

“Messiah” is the Hebrew word Mashiach— which simply means “anointed one.” I’ll list the things that are called “messiah” by the authors of the Scriptures as inspired by the Holy Spirit:

  • Solomon.
    “And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed (Mashiach) Solomon.” 1 Kings 1:39
  • Sinful Priests.
    “If the priest that is anointed (Mashiach) do sin according to the sin of the people…” Leviticus 4:3
  • Isaiah.
    “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed (Mashiach) me to preach good tidings unto the meek…” Isaiah 61:1
  • Bread.
    “And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed (Mashiach) with oil.” Numbers 6:15
  • A Baal-Worshipping Gentile King
    “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed (Mashiach), to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him.” Isaiah 45:1

I don’t understand why, if God himself has no problem calling other people his “Messiah” it should be a problem for parents to view their child as anointed by God as well. I don’t know the specifics of the case beyond what the media has picked up, but it seems pretty clear that you acted against the will the parents and have attempted to strip from this child a blessing or anointing that they intended for him.

I don’t wish or intent to impugn your own faithfulness it you would claim it, but I do abjure your reasoning in defense of this child or of Jesus Christ’s honor.  If you’re concerned about placing honor where honor is due it seems especially odd that you would name the child after the Roman pagan god of war (I do realize this is the mother’s surname).

I hope that Ms. Martin’s appeal goes through successfully. Moreso, I hope that you reconsider your judgement and overturn it yourself.

Sincerely yours,
Jayson Whelpley