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Posts Tagged ‘Christian vs. Christ follower’

1 Peter 4:16-19 (New International Version from Bible Gateway)

16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,
   “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
      what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

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 (Acts 11 from Bible Gateway NIV version)  19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. 27During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Why would I want to disassociate myself with the term “Christian?”  These disciples did everything I would hope to do as a believer in Christ, a disciple.  They preached and shared the gospel, they took care of those in need within the body, they spent time hearing good teaching, they supported each other. Moreover, they had the Holy Spirit, they had faith. They are the ones called Christian, what gives people the idea that those persecuting them were the ones who labeled them as such?  Maybe it was the name given by Romans…but it has stuck for a reason. 

It seems to me the seeker friendly style churches miss something when they refuse to use the name Christian.  They say they want to have numbers added to them, they want to meet the needs of others and serve in love, and yet don’t call themselves Christian?  Those who were called Christian in Antioch had it right, so I’d rather associate with them and not rename myself just to make those around me who don’t believe in Christ more comfortable. 

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