Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Christian or Christ Follower

(Video made by Community Christian Church.)

What does the word 'Christian' mean these days?

I have heard some cross-cultural missionaries say they prefer avoiding the label 'Christian', since the label brings with it so many negative associations to some. Whenever there has been a war done under the 'Christian' banner, anyone sympathetic to the other side will naturally dislike Christians. Same goes here at home. If anyone has been hurt by someone who has used the label 'Christian', they likely won't want more of that.

The word Christian was first used in Antioch as recorded in Acts 11:12. They were disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian

One interesting point is that these disciples were called Christians. It does not say they started calling themselves Christian. Maybe we should avoid giving ourselves labels to identify ourselves. If people see our lives pointing to Christ great! If not, using the label 'Christian' likely won't help any.

Lately I've found myself drawn to using other terms than 'Christian' - Christ Follower, Child of God... And I have found it good to focus my perspective on what my faith is about. But if the label 'Christian' was used in Acts (a few times), there is obviously nothing wrong with that label either. Maybe overused - but the same could happen in time with the use of the label 'Christ Follower'.

But if the only way people know we are Christians is because we say we are... then there is a problem.

My prayer is that as we follow Jesus, others will see His love, and want more of Him. Whether the word Christian is used or not.


Anonymous said...

Great commentary Jon - couldn't agree with you more!

mr zig said...

I agree, the term "Christian" has received some negative attention, and I'm all down with other terms like "Child of God", "Christ Follower" etc - but what I believe is that it's our job as "good christians" to bring "Good Press" to the old term. Whatever terms we use we'll be met with negativity - so the best thing we can do is bring positive light to Christianity