"The word Messiah is a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ," Ballew told WBIR-TV.
Ballew said her decision was made in the child's best interests, and that the name would not bode well amongst the community's large Christian population.
"It could put him at odds with a lot of people, and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is," said Ballew.
Jaleesa Martin, the child's mother, told WBIR-TV that she did not choose the name because of its religious connotation, but rather to fit in with the names of her other two children, Micah and Mason.
"I was shocked. I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God and I didn't think a judge could make me change my baby's name because of her religious beliefs," said Martin. Her appeal will be heard by the Cocke County Chancellor on Sept. 17.