Christian, Christ Follower or both?

(Ryan C Melcher) #1

Hello everyone,

Here is a question I have been thinking of. What is the difference between calling yourself a Christian or a Christ follower?

Sub thoughts / questions:
Is there a doctrinal difference? Are the two the same? Is the later just the current trendy name? Does the difference even really matter?

I ask because I read a post by a local pastor some years back saying how boring the word Christain is and how awesome it is to be a Christ follower. I thought the post was in rather poor taste and truthfully has always bothered me when I’ve heard the term Christ follower since. I realize that was just one person sounding off, so maybe I just need to be less sensitive on this topic. Last background point I generally call myself a Christian.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Cheers and blessings,


(Bill Brander) #2

Personally, I prefer being a Christ follower [or disciple] than a Christian.
Why? I think that Christian brings a lot of baggage with it. It sounds that it is more of a ‘religion’ than a relationship.
My thoughts anyway.

(SeanO) #3

@RyanMelcher In the Bible Christian was a term given to followers of Christ by those observing the amazing phenomena of the Gospel’s spread. It occurs 3 times in the Bible and means something close to ‘followers of Christ’ or ‘little Christs’ or ‘Christ ones’ or ‘of the Christ party’.

Acts 11:26 - Now it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

Acts 16:28 - Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

I Peter 4:16 - But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name.

Root: Χριστιανός
Morphology: N-AM-P Strong’s: 5546 Transliterated: Christianous

  1. Christian, a follower of Christ

Modern Meaning

Google gives a very simple definition of the word Christian:

  • a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Christianity (from Google)

I do not see anything wrong with using the term Christian, though if we want to avoid possible baggage that it brings along for other people I can see the value in trying to use a different descriptor. Especially if we are reaching out to people in an area where there is great skepticism about the Church or if people have been hurt in the past. It is not so much about the word as it is about our context and what the best way will be to reach people for Christ in that context.