Be The Christian

I frequently use the phrase “Be The Christian.” Of course, when I say that, I am emphasizing the importance of individual commitment to the things of Christ. Even if everyone else should turn their back, you stand firm. Be the Christian.

But then I was asked whether that’s even a good moniker to Christ’s followers.

The email question read —

Pastor Jim,

Should we call ourselves a Christian? Christ never called himself a Christian. Christ never called his followers Christians. The apostles never called each other Christians. Christ never used that adjective to describe Himself.

How are we to identify ourselves then? The disciples called each other brethren. Or, disciples, apostles, servants, believers, followers, the faithful, the elect, the called, saints, bondservants of Christ. But, not Christians. So, should we?

To which I replied:

Actually, the word “Christian”  (Greek Χριστιανός – Christianos) is a perfectly good name to call ourselves.  The Greek word actually has a Latin adjectival ending that denotes “adhering to”, or “belonging to.” So it essentially means “one belonging to Christ.” 

Naturally then, Jesus would never be called a Christian. But, His disciples can be. 

And, although the other names you mentioned are indeed biblical names that disciples called one another, the Bible tells us that the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26).  And then Peter uses the term in a positive way in 1Peter 4:16 — “but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”

So, I have no problem with the disciples of Jesus Christ referring to themselves as Christians.  It’s biblical and it’s complimentary.  We do belong to Him and I am not ashamed of a name the points out that fact. 

I said it before, I’ll say it again … Be The Christian.

Grace and peace,

Jim Mc.

2 thoughts on “Be The Christian

  1. Sherman Harmon

    Most non-believers I come in contact with associate Christianity with what they see on television. So when I’m asked if I’m a Christian, my response is, “Yes, if I can add a parentheses.” Not only does it allow me to separate myself from the TBN’s of the world, it’s a good way to spark a dialogue with the person inquiring.


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