Thursday, November 5, 2009

Should we even call ourselves Christian?

By Joe Ortiz and Richard Anthony

     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. 
    The biggest and most drastic change happened in1604, when then King James, ordered a group of scholars to translate the New Testament into the English language. The head of the team of scholars, Archbishop Richard Bancroft, received instructions from the King to modify certain words so that the King would be able to hold sway and power over his kingdom, (for the entire history of how this modification came about, see  The Great Ecclesiastical Conspiracy); ergo, we now have the the version most Christians read and believe in (some who are even willing to fight you that there is only one Bible you can trust), the Authorized King James Bible.
     In this article we will focus primarily on the word Christianity, and we will soon examine the word Church in greater detail.
     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. 
    The true disciples of Jesus know that their respective works are not motivated by organization, administration nor ranks of authority but by the counsel of the Holy Spirit. They knew (by actual experience at Pentecost, when God poured out among them the power of God to discern between truth and lies) that a person who is being guided by Him manifests the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22,23). I rather doubt that the so-called Christian Church in those days was being directed by the Holy Spirit or it would have produced true love. Instead it murdered people who didn't believe in the man made customs and traditions they themselves invented contrary to scripture! 
     The Apostle Paul explained in specific detail what true love was all about in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, when he stated:

 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. 
     Other teachings of Christianity, such as the call to chastity and the prohibition on homosexual practice, also made it unpopular. Despite this the group of true believers grew rapidly until their belief system was finally legalized and then promoted by Emperors Galerius and Constantine in the fourth century, primarily to bring peace between the predominately pagan cults and their worst critics, the believers of Jesus Christ. A major controversy as the Church that was being formalized was also the Arianism versus Trinitarianism debate which occupied the organized Catholic Church during the fourth century.
     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. 
     Jesus stated that true religion is to care for the orphans, widows, the infirm and poor, those in prison, charity, long-suffering, forgiveness and to keep oneself from being defiled by a world system that includes involvement in matters political.
     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
Should we call ourselves a Christian? 
By Richard Anthony

     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). 

     And who establishes the relation? The Law giver (Isaiah 33:22, James 4:12).
     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. 


     The word used, Acts 11:26, signifies simply to be called or named, and when Doddridge and a few others take to imply a divine appointment, they disregard the usus loquendi [established acceptation of the term] which gives no support to that opinion. The words Tacitus, when speaking of the Christians persecuted by Nero, are remarkable, ‘vulgus Christianos appellabat,’ ‘the vulgar call them Christians.’ Epiphanius says, that they were called Jesseans, either from Jesse, the father of David, or, which is much more probable, from the name of Jesus, whose disciples they were. They were denominated Christians, A. D. 42 or 43; and though the name was first given reproachfully, they gloried in it, as expressing their adherence to Christ, and they soon generally accepted it." Richard Watson, Watson’s Bible Dictionary (1832), p. 233.
     "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." 

     I am personally grateful to Richard Anthony for his deep scholarly work on this subject matter. Some folks may be saying that Anthony (and even Joe Ortiz) have been sniffing too much glue; how dare they try to alter the name "Christian" which has been revered by many people professing they are adherents to Jesus Christ and proudly wear that name in their hearts and on their sleeves. HOW DARE THEY!
     I've have known about this "Christian" polemic for over 20 years and thought, at first, it mattered little what a person is called if they truly follow Jesus Christ and His words of promise, His teachings of no greater love has ever been shown to mankind as He laid His life in order to pay the price for our sins, provides us the assurance of the eternal gift of salvation.
     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!

Joe Ortiz is the author of two books that challenge the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and premillennial dispensational precepts and doctrines being promoted by many right-wing evangelicals. The books include The End Times Passover (Etymological Challenges to Millenarian Doctrines) 

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.]

Blog addresses below:

Joe's web sites below:

  • Joe Ortiz Associates    Web site for Joe Ortiz Associates, a full service public relations company
  • The End Times Passover   Web site to discuss end times topics and to promote books written by Joe Ortiz
  • Tom Flores NFL USA     This is the new and official site of the Official Tom Flores Fan Club, managed by Joe Ortiz, fan club President


  1. I have no comment, I will only say that I feel no longer alone in this great task that the L_rd has given me. I have been given a task by the One True G_d of Israel, and it is this, To dispel all the lies about Him and His Church and the way we all should live before Him. I am to find His truth in His Word and teach his people to be true followers of His son Yeshua (Jesus)and His way. One Faith, One doctrine, total unity in the body of Yeshua(Jesus). G_d said to me that His word NEVER contradicts, neither should we contradict each other if we say we serve Him, One true G_d of Israel. Please visit us at:
    so that we can work together to be one faith,under one doctrine, one church serving only One G_d.

  2. Have you ever wondered if the doctrine you are practicing is of men or of G_d? Have you ever wondered why there are so many different doctrines, yet all use the same bible? Has the thought ever occurred to you that all of them cannot be right at the same time especially when each of their doctrines are in conflict with the other. It is an established FACT that The Bible is the FINAL authority in which all denominations teaching whatever doctrines claim to live by. Yet, if this is the case, then who do you believe? All cannot be right at same time when they are in conflict with each other. G_d declares that just because people do not believe what is written in certain parts of His Word (The Bible) or they decided to pick and choose which part they which to believe, does not nullify its power and that what is written therein is absolute TRUTH. G_d goes on and says that every word He speaks is ALWAYS TRUTH, but the words of men, if not influenced by His Spirit will always be a lie.

    A Season Of Faith
    "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God"
    For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (4)God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. Romans 3:3,4

    “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6

    The Bible also boldly declares that it‘s the only absolute truth: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17

    G_d declares in the Bible that His written Word always has been, and always will be Perfect. Perfect meaning NEVER wrong and NEVER contradictory.

    “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Psalm 119: 160

    “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6-7

  3. If you think you may have found a contradiction in the word of G_d, I assure you, it is not the word of G_d that has made an error but the man or woman who is trying to tell you what it says without the Spirit of G_d leading and guiding them. If the spirit is not leading that individual then what they are mostly likely giving you is their own private interpretation. The word of G_d declares that it is NOT subject to nor can be governed by any man’s or woman’s private interpretation.
    “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20
    G_d declares that the Scriptures (His Words) are not subject to what any man or woman says it might mean, but what He says it means when He had it written. He also declares that the only way to find out what He meant when he had it written is to be lead by His Spirit.
    “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21
    In the book of Revelation, G_d delivers this blistering warning about tampering with His written Word:
    “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19
    The Apostle Paul, lead by the Spirit of G_d, advises believers that study G_ds’ word, how they should react to those who teach doctrines contrary to G_ds’ written Word:
    “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17-18
    Paul, being lead by the Spirit of G_d admonishes true believers to avoid anyone who teaches doctrines contrary to the written Scriptures. He also reveals the consequences of believing such false teachings:
    “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8
    Then Paul immediately repeats himself:
    “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:9
    It is a good thing to note, that when G_d repeats a statement back to back, He is emphasizing something to us. If you dare to teach, preach and or practice any other doctrine expect that which He has declared, you are cursed. Now I see why 2 Timothy 2:15 is so important to NOT take lightly.
    “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
    God’s unchanging Word has always been the final authority, NEVER the traditions of men:
    “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8
    While Yeshua (Jesus) walked the earth, He publicly rebuked the Pharisees, the religious leaders of his day as He would today if He found anyone doing the very same things:
    “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” Mark 7:7-8
    Yeshua (Jesus) was upset that the Pharisees had elevated their traditions above G_ds’ Word because He knows that the Word of G_d leads people to eternal life, while the traditions of men lead people to eternal destruction. This factor hasn’t changed even in our time, Yeshua (Jesus) will always be displeased when anyone elevates the traditions of man above G_ds’ Word.

  4. In this day and age that we live in, it is time to examine what you may have been taught, whether it is according to the Holy Scriptures or is it just a doctrine based on the traditions of men. Yeshua (Jesus) would have it no other way, which is why He says:

    “… If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings…” John 14:23-24

    Everything Yeshua (Jesus) said and taught was in accordance with the Word of G_d from the Father, just as everything we say and teach must also be in accordance with the Word of G_d. Anything else is just a plain lie.

    A Season Of Faith

    Please feel free to visit us at:

  5. I have only one important question, what is the appropriate Bible to use? I know I've seen questionable error in the of the Bible, but if this is the case than what Bible should I be using?