This may come as a big surprise to many people, but did you know that the words "church" and "Christianity" do not really apply to God's children of promise? It's true! The word "church" you find in the Bible is a modified version of the original word ecclessia which in the Greek means "called out ones." When Jesus was talking about His "church" He was actually identifying the people who were called out to be His followers, and the true definition of ecclessia means "an assembly" or "congregation" of people chosen to represent Him. Since then, the word ecclessia has gone through extreme metamorphosis.
Before we start with the word Christianity, one would ask why is it important to know the true meaning of these two words. First off all, most articles (and Internet posts and comments) I read, where people disagree and even attack things religious, is due primarily to their respective experience with one or the other (the church or Christianity). They reject Jesus Christ based primarily on their experience with folks who call themselves "Christian," people who claim to follow Christ and His church, but most of the time have no idea whatsoever as to what both are supposed to be like nor manifest the one who has given us clear examples throughout history.
Whenever folks are approached by true disciples to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and follow Him as their savior, they quickly bring up the topics of the Crusades, the Inquisitions and other dastardly deeds committed against humanity since antiquity. They are not aware that is was not the ecclessia of Jesus Christ who committed those horrors, it was the pretenders, those who claimed that the Apostle Peter was designated as the Pope of their newly established (by themselves) organization, but not by God's true children of believers.
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. 1 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear, (1 Corinthians 13:3-7).
But, now, that the imposter church was in place, they chose (as man has throughout history) to do their own thing for their own self needs (ego, people controlling power, money and fame), all under the name of Christianity, as if that word provided them unlimited authority to control the lives of the massses (no pun intended).
Actually, Christianity is the word that has been used to describe the disciples of Jesus Christ, but it is not a name they (true believers) chose to call themselves. Christianity (or Christians, after their perceived formation, based on a misinterpretation of scripture in Acts 11:15, which I explain in exhaustive detail in my book, The End Times Passover) became a widely persecuted group of believers. They were even condemned by the Jewish authorities as practicing a form of (Judaic) heresy. The Roman authorities persecuted it because, like Judaism, its monotheistic teachings were fundamentally foreign to the polytheistic traditions of the ancient world and a challenge to the imperial cult.
But, as we will attempt to illuminate in future blogs, this new formalized institution was not the true church of Jesus Christ, those who genuinely believed in all the precepts Jesus taught them during His earthly sojourn. It is also not the church we see today, especially the American version, which has also decimated much of the biblical precepts that Jesus would have us follow.
Today's Christian church is frought with man made traditions, focuses more so on the quantity of its efforts, the size of its buildings, score-card keeping of conversions, depending more on the charisma of its leaders and entertainers to bring in potential converts (as opposed to Holy Spirit induced prayer and power), incessant fund raising and other gimmicky programs, belief in premillennial dispensationalism, promotes the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Left Behind mythologies (which includes Christian and Jewish political Zionism) as opposed to the quality of service to mankind.
In this particular missive, we will focus primarily on the word "Christian" and how this word came to be. Next time we will bring forth knowledge of the word church, its origin and evolution since the time of the early Apostles. We herewith present one of the best explanations on the origin of the word Christian, which was written by our guest author, Richard Anthony, of the Devoted to The Truth web site . Devoted to the Truth
How and when was the word "Christian" first used? The term 'Christian' was used to describe a follower of Christ in terms of the world, from the world’s point of view. The pagans at Antioch called the apostles "Christians" first (Acts 11:26; 26:28) and used it derogatorily because the apostles didn’t follow the commercial world of the pagans. "Christian" is an adjective, not a noun. The substance is not in the word "Christian", the substance is in the heart of the man it is attempting to describe, and which the pagan user cannot see.
Christ never called himself a Christian; Christ never called his followers Christians. The apostles never called each other Christians. Christ never used an adjective to describe himself. So how are we to identify ourselves then? The disciples called each other, "brethren", "disciples", "apostles", "servants", "believers", "followers", "the faithful", "the elect", "the called", and "saints." We can also identify ourselves as "bondservants" of Christ.
The servants of Christ belong to the kingdom of God. If you do not belong to a certain kingdom, you are labeled or named by that kingdom to be of another kingdom. For example, people in the continent (kingdom) of North America call those from the continent (kingdom) of South America, South Americans; from Asia, Asians; from Africa, Africans; from Europe, Europeans. But South Americans don’t call themselves South Americans, Asians don’t call themselves Asians. Africans don’t call themselves Africans, and Europeans don’t call themselves Europeans. Do North Americans call themselves North Americans? When you introduce yourself to somebody, do you say, "Hi! I’m a North American!" No, you don’t, because those from the same kingdom no not place labels on themselves or others. If you are a constituent of a Kingdom, you do not name one in the same Kingdom any thing; but you call them according to the relation between the two of you (brother, sister, mother, father, workman, laborer, minister, bishop, deacon, etc).
The term "Christian" was imposed upon the servants of Christ by Christ’s enemies living outside the Kingdom of God, to label those living in the Kingdom of God. Servants of Christ should not call themselves Christians, since this would imply that we are not from the Kingdom of God. Just like someone in Asia would not call themselves ‘Asians’, those living in Christ should not call themselves ‘Christians,’ because it would give the impression to others that you are from a different kingdom. 1 John 4:5, "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world…"
As scripture says, those who are of the world speak of the world, and use the words of the world. By using the words of the world, or by using the words of another kingdom, you identify yourself as being of that kingdom. And, since the word "Christian" is a term of the world, it might be best to use the words of God to describe us.
"Christian: A follower of the religion of Christ [Note carefully that Christ never started a religion - John 7:16]. It is probable that the name Christian, like that of Nazarenes and Galileans, was given to the disciples of our Lord in reproach or contempt. What confirms this opinion is, that the people of Antioch in Syria, Acts 11:26, where they were first called Christians observed by Zosimus, Procopius, and Zonaras, to have been remarkable for their scurrilous jesting. Some have indeed thought that this name was given by the disciples to themselves; others, that it was imposed on them by divine authority; in either of which cases we should have met with it in the subsequent history of the Acts, and in the Apostolic Epistles, all of which were written some years after; whereas it is found but in two more places in the New Testament, Acts 26:28, where a Jew is the speaker, and in 1 Peter 4:16, where reference appears to be made to the name as imposed on them by their enemies.
"Cristianos, Christian: a word formally not after the Greek but after the Roman manner, denoting attachment to or adherents to Christ. Only occurs as used by others of them, not by Christians of themselves. Tacitus (A.D. 96) says (Annals 15, 44), ‘The vulgar call them Christians. The author or origin of this denomination, Christus, had, in the reign of Tiberius been executed by the procurator, Pontius Pilate.’" Ethelbert William Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance of the English and Greek New Testament (1908), p. 152.
"This name (Christian) occurs but three times in the New Testament, and is never used by Christians of themselves, only as spoken by or coming from those without the church. The general names by which the early Christians called themselves were ‘brethren,’ ‘disciples,’ ‘believers,’ and ‘saints.’ The presumption is that the name ‘Christian’ was originated by the heathen." Thomas W. Doane, Bible Myths (1882), page 567, note 3.
"The name (Christian) given by the Greeks or Romans, probably in reproach, to the followers of Jesus. It was first used at Antioch." Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
"Egypt, which you commanded to me, my dearest Servianus, I have found to be wholly fickle and inconsistent, and continually wafted about every breath of fame. The worshippers of Serapis (here) are called Christians, and those who are devoted to the god Serapis (I find), call themselves Bishops of Christ." The Emperor Adrian to Servianus, written A.D. 134.
If you go to Zodhiates Word Studies, he tells you that when they were called Christians at Antioch, using the word ‘crematezo,’ it was a "divine warning." In other words, be forewarned; avoid this word and the use of it. And that’s what the apostles did. You will never read any of these New Testament writers using the term ‘Christian’ to describe themselves."
Also, the mere mention of the words "church" and "Christianity" (for the most part, instantly conjures up images of the Catholic Church which was responsible for the deplorable actions that killed millions of people during the Crusades and The Inquisition. That group of people called themselves "Christians." These people were not true believers in Christ and His mandates to love, forgive, patience, understanding, forgiveness and all the attributes of Jesus Christ and God Himself!
Jesus says, "Follow me." but can we follow Him by emulating man made traditions, customs, practices that belie His very being? Obvioulsy, those Christians who believe in Mariology, lighting votive candles to the dead, praying through usage of various beads, shawls or other icons, are not practicing Bible-mandated requirements, anymore than looking down on people of color or their lower wealth status, advocating military might to solve domestic problems in other countries, nor preaching Left Behind mythologies and supporting a specific race or religious sect who believe God chose them to dwell and control certain land areas above other peoples
Those people who practice these abominations call themselves Christian. The people I associates with, those who feed the poor, clothe the naked, house the homeless, visit and pray for sick people in their homes (whether they have AIDS, Swine Flue or Ghonorrea), visit old folks homes, who help others find jobs, do not wear their belief system or faith on their sleeves, who ask nothing in return, need no recognition for being a member of a group or community who call themselves Christian, they just follow Jesus as faithful disciples, they seek no recognition, they are greatful for the privilege of serving Jesus Christ, and always make certain to give all the honor and all the glory solely to Him!
and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (The Sequel to The End Times Passover), published by Author House. The talk show host, journalist and news columnist is the first Mexican American to host a show on an English-language, commercial radio station, beginning in 1971 at KABC-AM Radio in Los Angeles.]
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