Name, Logo & Brand
The title "Christian Origins/Current Faith" unites first-century Christianity with our need to trust in Jesus the Messiah today. In the study of Christian origins, biblical scholars apply modern tools to research the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry and the foundation of his church. However, it is our present trust in God which makes him most relevant in our lives. "Christian Origins/Current Faith" is an ancient-modern appeal toward Christians to follow Jesus as his original disciples, without addition or subtraction from his lessons.
The word "current" has a twofold meaning, as it both refers to the contemporary as well as to the movement of a river. In the primary logo, a stylized river in "Judaic blue" and "Dead Sea cerulean" represents the ongoing Jesus movement that began in the first century and continues in the twenty-first. Water is a scriptural icon of baptism, death to sin, spiritual rebirth, and life in the Holy Spirit. The tilapia fish below this current of water symbolizes Jesus' call, "I will make you fish for people" (Matt. 4:19). Israelis today refer to the tilapia as "St. Peter's fish" because Jesus told Simon Peter to pay the temple tax by retrieving a coin from a fish's mouth (cf. Matt. 17:24-27). Most scholars believe this story involved a tilapia because they often keep objects in their mouths to prevent their offspring from going back once they mature. Likewise, we are to mature in faith, not going back to things that stop us from growing in Christ. Therefore, the anchor represents hope, as the author of Hebrews wrote to us (cf. Heb. 6:19).
The palm branch over the "Christian Origins/Current Faith" wordmark alludes to peace, especially when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey on the first day of the week before his crucifixion. We remember this as Palm Sunday on the liturgical calendar. The palm branch also represents victory, from the crown that Greco–Roman athletes received for winning. Paul of Tarsus wrote, "Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable" (1 Cor. 9:25). The "eternal green" represents life and good health. The scroll points to Jesus as the incarnate Word of God, which he gave to us in both the written form we call "scripture" and in the sacrament of communion (cf. Luke 24:35). In the overall brand, earth tones such as blues, greens, reds, and light browns represent the natural environment God created for us.
Finally, the "Christian Origins/Current Faith" script is the centerpiece of the logo. It tells you what to expect from this ministry in terms of lessons and theology. "Christian Origins" takes priority over the modern period because God chose to send Jesus in flesh and blood at a specified time in human history. The New Testament is our primary source for the historical Jesus, as well as the model for how to conduct church matters today. The "Current Faith" part of the wordmark is slightly larger to show that Jesus will always be relevant in the present and in the future.
The "Christian Origins/Current Faith" brand illustrates the goals of paleo-orthodoxy. Through the years, it gradually moved toward the simplicity of a formal trademark. The most iconic brands in the world say quite a bit with very little. For example, the cross is a well-known symbol of Jesus and his church throughout the world. Therefore, the anchor in the logo features a stylized cross with a "twisted crimson" rope. This device alludes to the hope we have in Jesus, who took our sins to the cross and gave us eternal life. God told us through the prophet Isaiah, "Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool" (1:18). Incidentally, the early church preferred the fish, which is still in use today in Christian promotional and evangelistic materials (e.g., auto emblems).