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What Is A Christian?

posted Mar 1, 2012, 9:41 PM by hbchurch org   [ updated Mar 1, 2012, 9:47 PM ]

My ears tell me that the word “Christian” is one of the most misused words in the English language. The reason must be rooted in a complete misunderstanding of the word. Since very few people know how the word is used in the Bible, they rely on common usage for their definition. In this case the world has grossly distorted the word’s true meaning.

Most people in the world think of a Christian as anyone who believes that Christ was a real person and then identifies with some religious group that connects itself in some way to Christ. This makes for a cozy conglomeration of religious groups all claiming some affiliation with a belief in Christ.

With no definite guidelines for one’s beliefs, anything goes as long as you can tie it to Jesus in some way. The result is what the world calls “Christendom”. But is this the picture one gets from reading the New Testament? No!

The first use of “Christian” is in reference to those who had been “added to the Lord” in the city of Antioch (Acts 11:24, 26). We know from Acts 2:47 that the only people who were added to the Lord on Pentecost were believing, penitent, baptized people who responded to the apostles’ teaching. People who give heed to divine instruction are also called “disciples”. This is why the true Christians of Acts 11 were also known as disciples. They obeyed the Gospel (2 Thes. 1:8), i.e. the divine pattern for their salvation as it was preached by the apostles in the first century (Rom. 6:17).

If Jesus saves those who obey Him (Heb. 5:8-9), then those who are not obeying are not really His true followers or disciples (i.e. true Christians). But the master of deceit, Satan, has convinced myriads that it is possible to be a Christian and follow a man’s teaching instead of the Lord’s. So, in today’s world Christian is as generic as medicine.

The generic usage of a term inherently specific is no accident. Satan is grinning from ear to ear. Christian is not generic; it is specific. Strangely, we have no problem seeing the importance of specificity in the world of medicine. Who would keeping going to a Dr. who simply prescribed medicine for every patient regardless of the symptoms or illness?

Since the H. S. uses “Christian” with exclusivity, why do we use it in such a general way? Why would we ever want to give an ounce of credibility to the powerful forces of false doctrine like CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network)? We would never want anyone to think that Christian is a catch-all for all belief systems. Don’t aid or abet the devil. He is having enough success without our help. Heed the advice of the old time preachers who urged people to: “use Bible words in Bible ways”.  KD