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>Christian or Christ-follower

>http://godtube.com/flvplayer.swf

Acts 11:26 “…and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

It is a sad state of affairs in our time and culture when the term “Christian” no longer means what it used to mean. The video link illustrates this new mentality, in which people have a disdain for the term “Christian” and prefer “Christ-follower.” I will tell you up front that I prefer the term Christian. It has historical meaning and value. It tells me something about the person theologically and (hopefully) doctrinally. “Christ-follower” on the other hand tells me nothing. Anyone can be a Christ-follower just like someone who follows Buddha, Yogi, Confucius, etc.

In my estimation, just because someone says they are a Christ-follower tells me nothing of who they actually are. They may like Christ’s teaching, but not His divinity. They may like his politics, but not His atoning death and resurrection. They may like His social works, but not His glorious return. They may call themselves a Christ-follower, but not believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God–the second person of the Trinity.

Yes, some Christians have given the name a bad taste (i.e. the guy in the video). However, I don’t think we should rename ourselves because of a few bad apples. The name “Christian” is the name that was given 2000 years ago to those who believed in the person and work of Jesus. May we teach people the true nature of a Christian, instead of putting a different label on ourselves that only covers up the underlying issues.

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Discussion

9 thoughts on “>Christian or Christ-follower

  1. >Welcome krevbot. Good thoughts. I agree, getting down to what we mean by the labels is more important.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | March 9, 2008, 9:21 pm
  2. >I don’t really like getting caught up in this type of discussion, honestly. It seems like the wrong focus.I’d rather talk about Jesus and God and his word. The labels will come and go. I call myself a Christian, a believer, a Child of God. My identity can’t be wrapped up into one or two words, so I try to talk about what those things mean.

    Posted by Krevbot | March 9, 2008, 6:58 pm
  3. >It seems to me that the group referring to themselves as “Christ-followers” is responding to the over-commercializing of Christianity in America.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | March 7, 2008, 4:01 pm
  4. >What bothers me is the intentional branding of “Christ follower” and pitting it as the trendy and hip rival to the hopelessly outdated and uncool “Christian.” Today’s trendy Christ followers seem to have forgotten that the reason they can see so clearly (at least in their opinion) is that they stand upon the shoulders of yesterday’s Christians.There’s also the Protestant instinct to see last generation’s iterations of Church not merely “uncool” but as persecuting. I’m going more from my experiences at the Ooze than from the youtube clip, but I think that both “sides” of this little tiff are responding to some real power-relationship phenomena.

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | March 7, 2008, 3:27 pm
  5. >Perhaps I’m missing something. Why does the term “Christian” inherently imply an “understanding of the basis of the atonement or accepting ‘real’ christian accountability”? Well over half of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, but I’d venture to say that far, far fewer than that meet the criteria you speak of. Thus, the name Christian apparently does very little to inform or describe the faith of many who claim it. Although I typically prefer the term “Christian”, I think “Christ follower” is a pretty good descriptive term. Sort of along the lines of “people of the Way”. Since Jesus is the Way, aren’t “people of the Way” those who follow Him? What bothers me is the intentional branding of “Christ follower” and pitting it as the trendy and hip rival to the hopelessly outdated and uncool “Christian.” Today’s trendy Christ followers seem to have forgotten that the reason they can see so clearly (at least in their opinion) is that they stand upon the shoulders of yesterday’s Christians.

    Posted by Dwight | March 5, 2008, 5:52 am
  6. >Christians, which by the way is a term I prefer, were also known in Acts as “people of the Way”. I see alot of this “Christ-follower” term being thrown around lately, mostly of course in the “Seeker Soft Serve Sensitive Gospel” mentality and much within the Emergent movement as well. I agree with Jeff that right belief and right practice are inseperable. But, for some reason, of which I cannot put my finger on right now, the term “Christ-follower” just sounds like and reminds me of a Starbucks grande half calf decaf mocha latte?A term that anyone can claim. It sounds special, makes one feel uniquely cool with its neat little packaging without really understanding the basis of the atonement or accepting “real” christian accountability.

    Posted by hylander | March 5, 2008, 4:12 am
  7. >Perhaps we should adopt whatever names our fiercest critics call us? After all, “Christian” was not exactly a theologically significant name that the early believers came up with to describe themselves, but was most likely a term of derision and mockery. Of course, it is highly significant that the best that the critics of The Way could come up with tacitly acknowledged the intimate link between Christ and the first generation of His followers. I wonder if today’s critics would make such a connection?

    Posted by Dwight | March 4, 2008, 6:07 am
  8. > “In my estimation, just because someone says they are a Christ-follower tells me nothing of who they actually are . . . They may call themselves a Christ-follower, but not believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God–the second person of the Trinity.” I’m afraid the same can be said for those who call themselves “Christians.” Many people refer to themselves as Christians, though that tells us nothing of who they are. The same is true about what they actually believe and what they don’t. Mormon’s refer to themselves as Christians. While I share your preference for the traditional term, I’m think what one refers to him or herself as (Christian or Christ-follower) is irrelevant. BTW, I love the video!

    Posted by Mark Mathews | March 3, 2008, 12:52 am
  9. >Seems like we keep trying to pit right belief against right practice when the two are inseparable linked.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | March 2, 2008, 11:18 pm

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