Calling yourself a “Christ-follower” instead of Christian

It’s pretty popular to call yourself a “Christ-follower” instead of a Christian. I think that’s just a weird expression. Would you call yourself a Jesus Stalker if that was popular? Because that’s pretty much what you’re telling everyone “I’m a Jesus stalker…we’re tight…me and Jesus…he just doesn’t know it…yet.” I follow lots of people on Twitter but I wouldn’t call myself an “Al Yankovic follower” To me it just doesn’t have the same connotations that “Christian” has…it doesn’t seem as deep a term…and it’s not.

Why can’t you just call yourself a Christian? Oh, sure the term has been dragged through the mud by all the lukewarm “Christians” in America today and you want to separate yourself from them but, come on…Christ-follower? Do you really think it means anything different to the rest of the world…I imagine the conversation between to worldly guys about the Christ-follower would go something like this:

Guy 1: ”Dude, that guy isn’t a Christian…he’s a Christ-follower…there’s a big difference…broah”

Guy 2: “Dude, I thought we agreed about using the term “broah” it’s so like six seconds ago.”

Guy 1: “Dude, that’s when I said…six seconds ago”

Guy 2: ”Dude…(long pause)…what were we talking about?”

Guy 1: “Dude…I forget…you wanna go get baked…”

Guy 2: “Totally”

I don’t know why I imagine them both sounding like Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High it’s just were my mind goes.

While I think it’s kind of weird and generic to call yourself a “Christ-follower” did you know that the Greek word Christianos—literally means “follower of Christ”—and it, the term Christianos, has an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or belonging to, as in slave ownership. So really maybe calling yourself a Christ-follower is okay…BUT it’s not as precise a term as calling yourself a Christianos…so let’s get on THAT word and make it more popular than “Christ-follower” okay…or we could just go with the Anglicized form “Christian” since it’s more precise than Christ-follower. It’s like the difference between a regular TV and a HDTV. Yeah, you can get the picture with a regular TV, but HDTV is watching everything happen in your living room. It’s an amazing difference really.

The Bible calls us “Christians” and calls us to wear the name with honor. 1 Peter 4:6 says this:

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

In THAT name…the name Christian. It just seems to me that just like any other made-up buzz word in Christianity today, (literally in the magazine…it’s littered with all kinds made-up buzz words/terms)

Let’s be proud of the name Christian, because really the term “Christ-follower” is so six seconds ago.


8 thoughts on “Calling yourself a “Christ-follower” instead of Christian

  1. I believe the Bible only uses the word “Christian” three times, and it is a term of disdain concocted by the Romans when describing the disciples or “followers” of Christ. Jesus told us to make “disciples”, so that is my preference when describing my faith. A disciple is defined as one who wants to be like his master. It is also written that Jesus’ call to the apostles was “Follow Me”. I don’t see the term Christ follower as anything that diminishes ones place in the faith.

  2. I believe that most people who call themselves a “follower of Christ” or a “follower of Jesus” are doing so for the benefit of those whom they are trying to reach. Paul became “all things to all people” so that by all possible means, some might be saved. He never avoided truth or failed to claim his faith in Jesus, the promised Messiah. However, he was very careful to communicate with people in a manner that would allow them to understand the truth he was sharing.

    If someone has been deeply hurt by in the past by those who labeled themselves as “Christian” and I walked up to them and said, “I’m a Christian”, generally those people will immediately shut down and the opportunity of further discussion is lost. If by insisting on calling myself a “Christian”, I miss an opportunity to share the love and truth of Jesus, what I am actually saying is that I value my label more than I value your soul.

    Those who call themselves “followers of Jesus” are generally attempting to use a term that communicates clearly in our culture today, thereby opening the door to further communication and opportunities to share the truth of God, rather than using a term that has become a stumbling block to many.

    • Thanks for your comments…and for further clarification on where I stand on the issue please see my response to Mr. Haiken below. While I appriciate what you’re saying…Actually, it is the cross of Christ that is a stumbling block to many and foolishness to others. Whether you call yourself a Christian of a Christ follower won’t really matter.

  3. The passage you quoted from is not from 1 Peter 4:6; it’s 1 Peter 4:16. It’s also probably important to account for the fact that you’re quoting an English translation of a Greek text. The Greek term “Christos” which is actually used here in 1 Peter 4:16, comes from the Greek term meaning “Messiah.” Technically the term more factually translated does mean one who is a “follower of the Messiah”. Christ is not a name; it is a title.

    Besides unlike Al Yankovic, didn’t Jesus explicitly call his first followers and and say to them: “Follow Me!” Therefore it seems that if someone wants to identify himself as a “Christ follower,” he is simply acknowledging to the world that he has answered Jesus’ call to follow him. Despite the fact that we Christians are all faulty followers of Christ, we are followers of Christ nonetheless. Are you sure this is not simply your own personal aversion? If so, perhaps the warning of Jesus about the danger of trying to conduct eye-surgery on someone else when you are unknowingly the victim of poor vision yourself, might be a helpful one to remember here.

    -Alex Haiken

    • Thanks for the reply…and for pointing out the incorrect reference…given the overall tone of the post (one of more humor than seriousness) I was pretty sure it was clear that this was my own aversion when I wrote it…sorry if I gave the wrong impression. You can call yourself a “Christ-follower” or “Christian” or “Nazarene” (which is used by the Jewish lawyer Tertullus in Acts 24.) In the Greek Septuagint, “Christos” was used to translate the Hebrew word “Messiah” so, as you say, “follower of the Messiah” would be more literal. All original New Testament usages reflect a derisive element in the term Christian to refer to followers of Christ who did not acknowledge the emperor of Rome. Christian was actually a derogatory term among the Romans. Thanks for the input.

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