Is the Word “Christian” Dead?

I’d like to ask you all to answer a question: Is the word “Christian” dead?christian

I’ve heard celebrities and friends disavow the word Christian as an accurrate description of someone who is following Jesus.  Many people have chosen to use alternative titles to avoid being associated with a negative view of Christianity by much of the culture today.

1. Do you use the word “Christian”?  Why or why not?

2. What do you think our society associates with the word “Christian”?

3. If you don’t use the word “Christian”, but you do follow Jesus, how do you explain it to people?  What alternative word/phrase have you found to be better?

I will wait a few days for some responses and add some thoughts of my own.

Please share this post so there are more responses!

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11 thoughts on “Is the Word “Christian” Dead?

  1. It is kind of trouble some to use that label anymore because there are so many that abuse it…I like to tell people I’m a birthed one into the spirit being of Christ who now lives inside of me as my master and I do not run my own life nor does satan but Jesus runs my life in order to bring honor to his father..I simply participate.

  2. 1) No, I do not. Why? Because it is not natural for me to use that title for myself. I think that it is commonly used by those who are, or were, joined to one of the divisions of the Christianity religion.

    2) I think that, in the eyes of the world, Christian is associated with the Christianity religious businesses, its marketing practices and buildings, its popularity on television, news and so forth, and most of all – for its judgemental mindsets. In the annals of history the Christians have the most violent and murderous pages wherein a multitude of hedious hate crimes can be found.

    3) The Spirit of Christ lives in me and only by His life I live.

    People can call themselves or others whatever they want, the title of Christian is just not natural to me in Christ, but that’s just me I suspect. I imagine it feels quite natural to those who are familiar with it.

  3. I do use the word Christian in some settings and in a more general description. However, I prefer follower of Christ. I agree the label Christian has negative connotations due to those who call themselves Christians and do not do the things Jesus taught or live by His life. However, just because there is negative connotations doesn’t mean there cannot be those who are known as Christians who actually display the life of Christ. There will be people who say most Christians are hypocrites or judgmental but they may also say however, I do know someone who really is different and loving and shows God’s love.

    Be that Christian, that disciple, that follower of Christ.

    When I would describe a Christian or if I would describe myself I don’t particularly try to put on the label Christian but prefer I am a follower of Christ, born again by the Spirit of God. What that means is my life is no longer mine and Jesus Christ is now the in charge and oh how sweet it is (especially when I am yielding to Him).

    Those are my brief thoughts.

  4. 1. Yes, I use the word Christian when describing who I have faith in.

    2. I believe our society associates a Christian with someone who is in a religious system

  5. I have thought of this before and still chose to use the label Christian. Here is my rationale: I consider it an honor to be able to call myself a “Christ-ian”. I think its a beautiful term. I understand that some(a lot) of people call themselves that and aren’t true believers, also I get that large scale evil has been done by “Christians”. However, that is not me and I can’t do anything about other people and the way they may soil the term.

  6. Thank you all for your comments! I just wanted to let you know that I am working on a follow up post to this one, so stay tuned… 🙂

  7. 1. When/If I use the word “Christian” it is typically to describe a religious society/business system that I no longer identify with. Today the meaning as it was originally given to the early followers of Jesus in Antioch has all but been lost.

    2. I think culture (at least U.S. culture) uses the word to describe people who go to some type of church or religious institution, and it usually has a negative aspect associated with it, i.e. hypocrites, crazy, right-wing, pro-life, anti-gay, intolerant, to list a few.

    3. I simply say I’m a follower of Jesus. Sometime I’ll include something like, I’m in pursuit of the Eternal Purpose of God, seeking to allow His life to be expressed to, in, and through for His glory. Granted, sometimes that is followed up with more questions from people, but that gives way to conversation, and I view that as a good thing for those who are genuinely interested.

    Thanks for writing brother. I enjoy reading your blog.

  8. Mark, I wanted to make another point about the label “christian” that is perhaps more applicable to our society. Many who grow up in a “christian” home and perhaps hold to the belief that Jesus is the son of God will when given the choice while filling out religious belief choose “christian”, such as on Facebook.

    I know of people “friends on facebook” and even family who have “christian” as their stated belief or religion. However, there lives are nothing like Christ and they do not follow Him at all. In fact their posts may consist of promiscuity, carousing and the like. Where if a person were to take their “about” status at face value would wonder if being a “christian” means you can live like you want or this person is really living in rebellion and doesn’t seem to realize they are shaming the name of Christ.

    In this kind of instance the word “christian” has no meaning. In other instances when referring to believers in other countries particularly those dominated by other religions such as Islam or Buddhism the term “christian” would refer to a follower of Christ and typically those people are suffering for their faith and are strong in their submission to the living Christ and thus fill out the term “christian” to its intended meaning and definition.
    Seth recently posted…Kingdom Safety – Book ReviewMy Profile

  9. I have thought about this as well, and still go with “Christian” in most interactions/conversations that I have. I mix it in with “follower of Jesus”. I try to be discerning about who I’m talking with, and what the situation is…If I’m talking with someone who is interested in spiritual things, or I know will be on board with some spiritual nuance, I’ll make more of an effort to describe the specific way I live out my faith by adding some more verbiage.

    But dropping the “Christian” label altogether can actually do more harm than good in some cases. Specifically, as Seth mentioned, when talking with believers from other countries (for whom the label “Christian” is a profound marker of identity, and holds all or most of the meaning that it did for the early church). Or if you happen to be interacting with a new believer, perhaps unbeknownst to you – trying to dance around “Christian” can bring more confusion, and division than necessary (it can kind of come full circle back to denominationalism, and be like saying “I’m a Presbyterian” instead of just “Christian”).

    Finally, I think there is something significant about the fact that for 2,000 years, people who claim to follow Jesus have been called “Christians”. I’m not saying blindly hold to this tradition if it has become more harmful than good, but I do like the feeling of associating myself with the billions of men and women since the death of Christ who have faithfully followed him under the heading “Christian”. It keeps me humble, and in the knowledge that the things of Christ that I’m experiencing are not “the latest and greatest thing”, but are actually old and shared.

    Good question Mark.

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