I normally like to warm up the engine before diving right in but to avoid this article being the size of a small novel I’m going to just jump right into this thing like a school girl at double dutch tournament. Small disclaimer… this going to actually be logical and make sense! If you are a bible thumper that does NOT actually read the bible then this article may destroy your theology and in the process, you may get to know the real Jesus and not the Jesus you’ve seen on TV and in your deep sessions of youtube church. The purpose of my blog is always to educate despite how many people and even certain friends feel about it. With that, lets get this show on the road.
Defining Christianity is quite easy when you actually use the bible as the source of information which makes sense when you really think about it especially since indeed we are talking about a strictly biblical term. The term Christian wasn’t used before the bible and had no meaning outside of the biblical usage. Now at this point I want you to stop reading this article for a second and go to the Bible References portion of this blog which is at the bottom of this page and read the Acts 11 excerpt straight out of the bible about the first use of the word Christian and the use of the word believers.
**DO NOT READ ANYMORE UNTIL YOU READ THAT EXCERPT **
Ok, glad to have you back, didn’t mean to use the bold type and yell at you, but when people read articles and listen to preachers without actually reading the bible it annoys me to no end! God frankly states that He no longers winks or takes a blind eye to ignorance nor should He when we have a bible readily accessible. Many places throughout the world can only dream of freely reading the word of God in text form so if you live somewhere you can do just that then please take full advantage of that opportunity. So two things you may have noticed in the article is this, one everyone was simply called a believer. When Jesus was walking around the earth every disciple meaning disciplined one was simply called a believer. The term Christian did not exist when Jesus was alive. People were called believ
ers and in Hebrew the word for believer also meant doer, for example, if you said you were a believer in Jesus this also meant that you did the things Jesus said to do. Unlike today where you can say you are a Christian and not do anything Jesus asks, see John 14:15, back in biblical time to say you were a believer in Jesus absolutely meant that you were actively practicing His teachings and following His edicts. If you agreed with Jesus, but did NOT practice his edicts or follow His teachings and someone asked you if you were a believer you would tell them No. You may add that you agree with Jesus’ doctrine, but do not practice it as a believer. Very different from today where the practice is to say Yes to Christianity and at the same time put aside Christian doctrine.
So the term Christian was used to describe the actions of believers. People witnessed the effective conversion of non-believers via believers and the amazing work believers were doing and compared them to Christ. Just as Christ did things these believers were doing them so they called them Christ-ian meaning Christ-like. It would be like saying someone is Platonian if they act and subscribe to the thought processes of Plato. Thought unlike calling someone Platonian, being called a Christian would have been an honor like a commoner being called regal, royal or presidential. None of us are at the level of Christ so being given the distinction by pears as Christ-like or Christian is an honor bestowed by those who would like to give that honor. It could be perceived, however, as being pretty arrogant for someone to describe themselves in this way, it would be like walking around and telling everyone that you’re awesome. “Hey, man I am awesome” or “Hey, girl I am somewhat of a big deal.” this is how it can reflect using the term Christian, especially in biblical days. This term is someone on the outside saying you are Christ Like which is what that term once again, literally means. To go around and saying, “hey everyone I am Christ-like” is an overreach. More im
portantly however, it removes the focus off of Christ’s death and puts it on to your life. When someone says that they are a Christian, even other believers expect them to live to a higher standard. The expectation of being Christ-like is pretty high and if someone says they are Christ-like that expectation is now justifiable. The term believer to the contrary says “I am not important, the person that is important is the person I am believing in.” The term Christian says “I am Christ-like look at me” and when people actually look at us they quickly realize how truly bodunk crazy and utter sinful we truly are, see Isaiah 64:6
Acts 11: The Church in Antioch of Syria
19 Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews.20 However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles[f] about the Lord Jesus. 21 The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.
22 When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. 24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers[g] were first called Christians.)
John 14 Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, obey[a] my commandments.
Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)
6 We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.