The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

Onward, Christian Soldier – Part 3

Jesus appears to the disciples (watercolour)

Image via Wikipedia

My last post in this series concluded by emphasizing the early disciples of Jesus were referred to as “Followers of the Way”. The word follow in this context means to: conform to, adhere to, comply with, obey, be guided by, be modeled after or on, observe, heed, mind, go along with, reflect, mirror, echo, imitate, cleave to. The lifestyle of Jesus’ disciples was recognizable to those around them. They were derogatorily labeled as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, for they imitated Him in all manner. This was offensive to many Jews. With such a rigid and narrow way of life to abide by, it’s not surprising that most Christians are believers in Christ not followers of Him.

Followers of Jesus were referred to as Christians by Gentiles:

“When the Christian movement reached Antioch in Syria, the gospel was preached to Gentiles as well as Jews. Such evangelism marked the sect as more than a new type of Judaism; it was a new religion. The Gentiles in Antioch invented a name for the new group. Since members of the group constantly talked about Christ, they were called Christians, meaning the “household” or “partisans” of Christ.”

The historical background of the term “Christian” and related labels implies that from a relatively early period people recognized something distinctly non-Jewish about the movement. It is unlikely that Gentiles would have known the Jewish significance of the word Christós, “messiah”. It was not until the early 2nd century that Christians began with some regularity to employ the term as a self-designation.

This wraps up my brief overview of the term “Christian” from a historical perspective. Next in this series I’ll confront the indoctrination process of new Christians. Until then, stay rational.

Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (432). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

Onward, Christian Soldier – Part 2

Onward, Christian Soldier – Part 4

August 23, 2010 Posted by | Christian Education | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment