What is a Christian?


What does the word "Christian" mean?  It's simple, really.  Just as the word "Jungian" describes one who adheres to Psychologist Carl Jung's theories, and "Jacksonian" described followers of Andrew Jackson or his ideas, "Christian" describes a follower of Christ Jesus and his teachings.

The word "Christ," which means the same as the Hebrew word "Messiah," comes from the Greek word Christós, or "Anointed One."  We Christians believe that the man Jesus is the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament, and so we study Jesus and His teachings and try to follow as He has taught. 

The word "Christian" was first used around A.D 46, in Antioch, a rather diverse and liberal-minded gentile city north of Israel.  It was applied toward those who followed Jesus, to differentiate them from all the other religions being practiced there. 


Nowadays, in common usage, "Christian" has a spectrum of meanings.


Here's another definition, somewhat tongue in cheek, but which has more than a grain of truth about it.
A Christian is one who is on the way, though not necessarily very far along it, and who has at least some dim and half-baked idea of whom to thank. — Frederick Buechner
On the way?  That's part of it.  But if you're not moving, if you're not getting to know God better, you are, in effect, losing ground.

Dim and half baked?  Well, when you consider how great God must be, to be the Creator of the Universe yet still interested in you and me as individuals, I guess a relatively dim and half-baked idea is about the best we can hope for, this side of Heaven.


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