Discussing
Are you a Follower of Jesus?

Adam Lehman
March 4, 2009

"follower of Christ" = a person who is striving to be as one of the disciples. "christian" = a person who is part of christianity as a religion.<br><br>I find it frustrating when people segregate themselves from Christianity, but I'm growing to think that it is a needed shift. Christian seems to be a title centered on the actual individual whereas "follower of Christ" seems to be a description leading to the person of Jesus. Actually, as I'm writing these things I'm growing more and more inclined to drop tag of "christian" from my vocab. <br><br>I think the term "christian" has grown meaningless in our generation and a new phrase needs to emerge.

John
March 4, 2009

Didn't the word Christian come from the followers of Christ Jesus as Paul mentioned in various books and in the letters he sent to the churches? Then it developed into what we call Christians and I believe that if you say that you are a follower of Jesus then you are a Christian. Let us all be Christians and bring as many as we can to the heart of Christ. In God's Grace John

Shevrell
March 4, 2009

I THINK TO BE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS IS TO OBEY HIM AND WHAT EVER HE SAYS.NOT THAT IVE BEEN DOING SO BUT I'M TRYING TO DO WHAT EVER GOD WOULD USE ME TO DO. BLESS UP..........

Andrew
March 4, 2009

I think the term 'follower of Jesus' can be useful when engaging with non-Christians, but it may also encourage a merely philosophical lifestyle - maybe the faith will come later. I consider myself a Christian instead of a 'follower of Jesus' but I 'm following Jesus as a Christian. I suspect/know some who call themselves Christian but the lifestyle doesn't reflect it very much!<br><br>I wonder, will some Stateside describe themselves as Baptist first when asked?

Dons
March 4, 2009

I'm an old-fashioned "born-again Christian," but with the term "born again" being applied to other things in the culture, and the bad testimony from some in our Christian tradition, I understand the motivation of people wanting to use fresh terms.<br><br>The problem, regardless of terminology, is to define the terms. "Follower of Jesus" sounds like it carries more of a commitment to some people, but if said follower picks and chooses which teachings of Jesus (and the rest of Scripture) to follow, the hypocrisy is just as great as it is for many "Christians."<br><br>At some point, the issue of sin, salvation, sanctification, etc. must be broached, or all these terms are meaningless rhetoric.

CredendoVides
March 4, 2009

To many, the word Christian has lost its true meaning. If you say “I’m a Christian” people ask you (both Christian and non-Christian) “what type?” or “what denomination?”<br>Some even think that saying you’re Christian means you’re not Catholic! The OED defines Christian as “Believing, professing, or belonging to the religion of Christ.” So, <br>Christians are “followers of Christ!” But, today, the idea of Christianity has been so watered down, so denominationalized, so confused, that for many, it no longer suffices. So, a logical choice for clearer definition is “Followers of Jesus” which, at present, leaves little room for confusion. For those who truly understand this term, it shatters denominationalism, crosses factious borders and draws a clear line in the sand. To call yourself a Follower of Jesus, you place yourself on the side with the Heavenly Host entire, the Royal Priesthood, the whole membership of Christendom. To be a Follower of Christ, is to be truly “Christian,” in the fullest sense of the word.<br>

Mrben
March 4, 2009

Christians have been called Christians for nigh on 2000 years. Yes, there are other terms that are bandied about - "born-again", "red-letter Christian", "Christ follower", etc, etc - but they either fall out of usage, or end up being as misinterpreted as we accuse Christian of being. <br><br>I would rather redeem the original term than coin a new term that will either a) be too twee to be useful, b) be too meaningless to be useful, c) fall out of "fashion" in 12 months or d) become completely misinterpreted.

Jeff
March 4, 2009

AHHH, this and similar has been on my mind for quite some time now!! I believe a time as been reached here in America that a separation be defined. It has become all to increasingly difficult to distinguish between true believers and those that seemingly call themselves Christian. Christian has become a by word or if you will generic for those that go to church but do not necessarily live the Bible. In effect this, schism is giving true believers a bad name, thus this is what the world sees as a representation of Christianity, not good!!

Pam
March 4, 2009

I consider myself both a Christian and a Follower of Jesus. I chose the latter for my Facebook profile, however, because "Christian" has such negative connotations these days. To some non-Christians I know, declaring myself a "Christian" could mean that I hate entire groups of people, that I am judgmental, that I am hypocritical, (see Kimball's and Kinnamen's books), etc. However, most people like Jesus and get his basic message of love and service to others. So to follow Him, means I am trying to be one who loves, who commits my life to others. <br>Mark Driscoll was recently interviewed on "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News" on CNN. Hughley started complaining that Christians were a bunch of hypocrites. Driscoll very wisely asked, "Do you like Jesus?" Hughely said yes. I wish I could remember exactly what Driscoll said, but it was a great response that I think pointed out that Jesus came for those who are broken, so there are broken people at church. He opened the door for anyone who likes Jesus to come find out more.

Vicki
March 4, 2009

On facebook I am listed as Roman Catholic and I think I will keep it that way. I am a Christian and a follower of Christ as well. I don't know that changing what I call myself would be helpful.

SiarlysJenkins
March 4, 2009

Anyone who follows Jesus as the inspiration of their faith is a Christian, although I suppose those who have doubts as to his divinity could be called Jesuits, except that name has already been taken by a specific sect within a specific denomination which, like many denominations, considers itself to the be only true Christian church. Anyone who believes that loyalty to a specific hierarchy or doctrine is essential to call oneself a Christian is committed to a denomination, or some less well organized subdivision of Christianity. Ultimately, each person's relationship is direct to God, so calling yourself a follower of Jesus is your call. What do I believe? I believe that anyone who sincerely tries to practice the two commandments on which, so says Jesus, hang all the law and the prophets, is a Christian, supplemented by the very simple question Micah posed "He has shown you oh man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" I'm not perfect at those, which makes the notion of salvation by grace comforting, but neither comes with any codicils about specific professions of faith, or acceptance of specific doctrines or definitions.

Melanie
March 4, 2009

I can understand the shift in that for many, the word Christian carries either negative or possibly neutral connotations. For some people, being "Christian" means that they have a Christian heritage, rather than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At the same time, the younger generation of Christians is moving away from denominational divides. It seems that most of them view their relationship with Christ and their belief in the Bible as more important than any loyalty to a particular church. Even so, I am totally comfortable calling myself a Christian, and I still identify with the word.

Saultopaul
March 4, 2009

In my own life I have decided to say I follow Jesus Christ or something other then that I am a Christian not that I am embarrassed of being a Christian rather I believe it to be more direct in what and in whom I believe in. <br>I have been asked what denomination I belong to technically it would be Baptist, however I would rather hold to Jesus Christ then hold to the denomination of a seemingly broken church. I love the body of Christ, and as long as a person believes in Jesus that he took ones sin away, and that in and through Jesus only is one saved then to me if someone says their a Baptist, Pentecostal or my favorite "just a Christian" as if we believers of Christ are liken to stake in degrease of cookedness. To sum up, I feel that their is too much division in the body of Christ, and to help separate from the chaos of I am a "pentalbaptisfrekyfollowerchoilicchrist" I would much rather get to the point. Jesus is my Hope and salvation, and if he is not yours well..... I am sorry. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. <br>

Matt
March 4, 2009

I think 'follower of Christ' was formed as a reaction. People seemed to think the word 'Christian' was poisoned by ineffectual or hypocritical people. Kind of like how some people think 'evangelical' is a dirty word. <br><br>I'll go with you on your opinion. People seem to use it in order to help them forge relationships with non-Christians.

Sistersharon
March 4, 2009

I try to be the head and not the tail. Because jesus stood out among the crowns of people and treat them better then they treated him so yes i do try to follow the wishes.of god God say's that when we are weak we are strong. I said that to say this he made man in his own image and so therefore we are made in the flesh the spirt is willing but the flesh is weak.So we strive to do what is right and what may be right to god and our selves. If you know not of god then the world see you different. For his ways is not our way his thinking is not our thinking.For the way that seem wrong seem right,for the way to a man seem's wrong is right. Amen

Kjml
March 4, 2009

It would be wonderful if people who have no personal relationship with Christ would resist calling themselves "Christian." It would also be wonderful if people [like me] who DO have a relationship with Christ would follow Him more perfectly. &lt;sigh&gt;<br> I am a Christian by faith and relationship. But, as others have pointed out, the name has become associated with the rejection and hatred of certain elements of society, or with being ignorant or superstitious. This becomes quite an inhibitor to building relationships with people outside the faith who, thanks to the Media, [and some high-profile Christians who fit the bill] have come to view nearly all Christians through that lense.<br> Like, Pam, I also used "Jesus Follower" as my religious designation on Facebook. Basically, I think this designation is more inviting to Seekers and allows for a broader range of dialog. It is also more amenable to conversations with other cultures which may view "Christian" as the name of an enemy, but understand that the message of Jesus was one of love and acceptance and grace. <br> I wish that such word play were unnecessary but we need to do whatever it takes to be able to carry the message of grace to the world. It seems like it is still fine to call Each Other "Christian" because once Christ is truly in our hearts, we know the full commitment and honor it entails to carry His Name. &lt;/sigh&gt;

Keidow
March 5, 2009

There is nothing inherently wrong with being a "Jesus follower" nor with being a "Christian." The problem with being a "Christian" is that sometimes that means defying the conceptions that might come with that description for some people, e.g. a Christian as in the crusades or those who fight other faiths. <br><br>The problem, however, with being a "Jesus follower" is that it often seems to be taken as a description of pride by those who don't want to be associated with the Christian community. If one is just following Jesus, then there is no problem. If one calls oneself a follower of Jesus in opposition to Christianity, i.e. the Church, then there's a big problem. <br>It's like saying you're best friends with this guy but you hate his wife. The guy won't be too impressed. In this case, 'the guy' is also Lord of the Universe.

Virginia Wieringa
March 5, 2009

Jack Roeda always begins his sermons with the words, "Dear Friends of Jesus Christ..". I like that. I think the new distinctions you discuss are welcome since the word 'Christian' has become burdened with societal baggage over 2,000 years.

Andrew
March 5, 2009

I am wondering why you need to discern who is a Christian or not. Even true believers can fall and do. Isn't that a case of trying to live life climbing a greasy pole/

Tim Forster
March 5, 2009

What Jesus calls you might just be a little more significant than what anyone else does.

JImmy
March 5, 2009

Keidow, I agree with you. <br><br>Trust me, it won't be long until the world is calling "followers of Jesus" hypocrites or some other name too. The church isn't any worse than it's ever been; the world is more open to hating it. The world hated Jesus, the apostles and the early church too.<br><br>Building the kingdom of God is hard, hard work even with the power of the Spirit. We're battling principalities and powers. The kingdom will grow however one person at a time. If you think saying you're a "follower of Jesus" on Facebook helps, go right ahead. Sooner or later, you're also going to be called a hypocrite for failing

Arndt
March 6, 2009

While I can understand the appeal of the description, "follower of Jesus", I do have some concern about whether people would use it in the same vein as "I am spiritual but not religous." Frankly, there will always be problems with institutions composed of human beings. It's natural to want to diassociate one's self with the abuses or misrepresentations of one's faith.<br><br>Yet God did not send Jesus Christ to simply convert individuals. We are his body, his people, his temple his army, to name a few biblical descriptions. God gave gifts to his church, according to Ephesians 4, apostles,prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. When we try to compartmentalize our faith into a mostly individual, personal, private sphere, we depart from the express purposes of God.<br><br>So yes, be a "follower of Jesus." Just dont try to do it all by yourself.

Matt Stone
March 6, 2009

I used to prefer "follower of Jesus" to "Christian" but found it confuses many non-Christians and conceeds too much to red necks. So these days I am more inclined to use both interchangeably and highlight Christian diversity. I find thats more likely to surprise people and get them checking their preconceptions.

Cherylzyx
March 7, 2009

There are people who call themselves Christian because they have a relationship with Jesus and then there are those who call themselves Christian because that is the culture they grew up in. <br><br>I live in Oklahoma - everyone you meet will tell you that they are Christian but for many many people it is simply a cultural thing. In this part of the country we have a church on every block and most people had someone taking them to church when they were a child. <br><br>I use Christ follower because at least in this part of the country the word Christian is used in both a faith context and a cultural context. I feel Christ follower makes it clear that I love and have devoted my life to Jesus.

David
March 7, 2009

If you'd rather describe your faith with an adjective than an noun, what difference does it make. What a person calls it, doesn't change the reality of it....whatever "it" is. "nominal follower" will soon be no different than a "nominal Christian." And a sold out Christian or a sold our follower will be the same. A Christian is a Christian is a Christian. A rose by any other name...<br>

Jeanmarie McEneaney
March 7, 2009

The majority of the "western world" call themselves "Christians" and often it is used as a label, by calling yourself a "Follower of Jesus Christ" you make a firm statement where you are in your belief in the one true God.

Jeanmarie McEneaney
March 7, 2009

Amen to that! Often "we" as Christ followers do not make a clear stand as where we are in Christ .

Leanne
March 8, 2009

Call me crazy, but I'd really like to know the religious editor's take on the terms. <br><br>What does <i>she</i> think of the terms? What are <i>her</i> experiences in observing those who claim a faith in Christ? <br><br>Has <i>she</i> or her colleagues/readers found a telling difference between what people identify themselves as in terms of religion/spirituatity and in how they practice said faith?<br><br>I ask because I can tell you who I am and what I believe until I'm blue in the face........... <br><br>(which is why, more and more, I just keep my mouth shut and hope my actions and the living of my life give their own "testimony")<br><br>........ but what would be really great, what would help to really stimulate dialogue is the discussion about what others see as the distinction between "Christian" and "Follower of Jesus".<br><br>Wouldn't <i>that</i> be a great conversation!

John
March 9, 2009

Okay, I've read all of these wonderful opinions weather to call ourselves Christians or followers of Christ Jesus or was that Jesus Christ? Here is another to opine on if you please, I am a Disciple of Christ Jesus, just as Peter, Paul, John, James and the others, of course all of you are included. Just that you talk about this shows that you have the love of God in your hearts and how wonderful is that. In God's Grace John

Saultopaul
March 11, 2009

I have recently started to read a book. It is part of the Every Man Series (I assume most men know that series if not find out about it). The book is Ever Mans Challenge. In the introduction of the book is a three word saying, P. B. R. and no it does not mean peanut butter on rye. In the book it means Proudly Bravely Reliable. I like it but not a whole a lot. So I spent a day thinking about. <br><br>What else could P.B.R. Stand for? <br>What I came up with is Proudly Bravely Rehearsing the life of Jesus Christ today.<br><br>When we get down to it that’s what us followers of Jesus Christ want to do. Is every day hope and thinking our actions will not contradict what our bible tells us to do. <br><br>I sent out a text message to a few men of God the other day. At the time I knew they were close to getting off work if they have not already got off form work. <br> The text message was this <br><br>“Did you live P.B.R. today, Proudly and Bravely Rehearsing the life of Jesus Christ.”<br><br>

Nathan
March 16, 2009

upside to "Christ follower": "Christian" may primarily connote membership in an organization, which can easily become just a nominal reality; while "Christ follower" puts emphasis on personal discipleship and commitment.<br><br>downside: emphasizes the individual rather than the communal identity of Christ's followers.

Theodore Trost
March 17, 2009

Both "follower of Jesus" and "follower of Christ" represent attempts to distinguish between Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, on the one hand, and the various historical representatives of his message subsequently--especially the institutional efforts to control "the Christian message." One sees the problem already in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Divisions within the Church lead some to say "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ" (I Cor 1.12). The Gospel writer Mark signals the concern about party factions, or even "apostolic succession," in another way. The disciples, having encountered a successful, unnamed exorcist who casted out demons in the name of Christ, silenced the freelancer because "he was not following us" (Mk 9.39). Jesus responds "Whoever is not against us is for us." <br>Self-described "followers of Jesus" are attempting to affirm a direct relationship with Jesus and his teachings apart from the trappings of institutional affiliation. The weakness of the designation (or advantage, from a Unitarian point of view) is that it anchors the identity of Jesus in his humanity and differs little, consequently, from the phrase "follower of Gandhi," for example. "Follower of Christ" is a Christological assertion; on the other hand, it does not entirely distinguish itself from the generic term "Christian"--which, lke the term "Muslim," has come to suggest a certain political ideology affirmed, or at least courted, by the Republican Party in the United States.<br>Theodore Trost

Marc
May 14, 2009

It seems you could "follow" Jesus, even obey Him, but not be a Christian in the sense of one for whom their sins are atoned.

Arcshe
September 16, 2009

What do you think in a church who want to changed its organizational name into "Followers of Jesus" literally?<br><br>Thanks and God Bless!!!

Derecks
February 19, 2010

Why is it important to become a follower of Jesus?<br><br>To become a Christian means to become a follower of Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus is the way to salvation.<br><br>Jesus is the only way to God. John 14:6 <br>Unless we believe in Jesus, we will die in our sins. John 8:24 <br>Those who have Jesus, God's Son, have life, those who do not have the Son do not have life. 1 John 5:12 <br>There is no other name or person given to us through whom we can be saved. Acts 4:12 <br>Jesus' followers are sometimes called disciples. This is a person who spends time learning from a mentor, a master trainer, how to live life with skill, purpose, and meaning. The follower hopes to become like his or her mentor by not only knowing the teachings, but also living the same kind of life. Jesus told his disciples that was His goal in training them! In fact, they were to go train others! Seeing Jesus come alive in His first followers became the goal of the people Jesus personally trained and sent out to do His work!<br>

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