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Old 07-19-2001, 06:08 PM   #1
Starbug
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Post the name Christian

Just had a thought today about Acts 11:26 (I think... it's been a while). The disciples first called Christians at Antioch: Now, I understand, according to Acts, that Antioch had the first truly integrated church (meaning Gentiles who became Christians were members). Before, the church consisted of ethnic Jews and proselyte Jews.

So, finally they're designated as Christians. But what I wonder is, was "christian" meant to be on the same level as Jew, i.e. "as one is a Jew, so I am a Christian," or was it meant to be on the same level as Pharisee or Sadducee, i.e. "as one is a Pharisee, so I am a Christian."

What are some thoughts, and on what textual evidence do you base your thoughts?
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Old 07-19-2001, 09:34 PM   #2
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Perhaps this might get better response in BC&A?
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Old 07-19-2001, 10:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Starbug:
<STRONG>Just had a thought today about Acts 11:26 (I think... it's been a while). The disciples first called Christians at Antioch: Now, I understand, according to Acts, that Antioch had the first truly integrated church (meaning Gentiles who became Christians were members). Before, the church consisted of ethnic Jews and proselyte Jews.

So, finally they're designated as Christians. But what I wonder is, was "christian" meant to be on the same level as Jew, i.e. "as one is a Jew, so I am a Christian," or was it meant to be on the same level as Pharisee or Sadducee, i.e. "as one is a Pharisee, so I am a Christian."

What are some thoughts, and on what textual evidence do you base your thoughts?</STRONG>
Only the disciples were Christians and the rest were followers of Jesus ("added to the Lord"). Followers of Jesus are not Christians in the same was as Jesus himself did not become fully Christ until his own resurrection . . . wherefore he told us to "follow [him]."

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Old 07-20-2001, 07:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Muad'dib:
<STRONG>Perhaps this might get better response in BC&A?</STRONG>
Well after a day here in Misc Religion with little response, I am inclined to try.

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Old 07-21-2001, 06:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Starbug:
<STRONG>So, finally they're designated as Christians. But what I wonder is, was "christian" meant to be on the same level as Jew, i.e. "as one is a Jew, so I am a Christian," or was it meant to be on the same level as Pharisee or Sadducee, i.e. "as one is a Pharisee, so I am a Christian."</STRONG>
Romans 10:12-13 (NIV)
"12. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Galations 3:26-29 (NIV)
"26. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Colossians 3:9-15 (NIV)
"9. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."

Romans 2:28-29 (NIV)
"28. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."

Ish
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Old 07-21-2001, 12:08 PM   #6
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Ish, I expected someone to quote those verses. But what I want to know is, did the early Christians view themselves as a sect of Judaism that included Gentiles, or did they truly view themselves as a distinct relgion of its own?

Consider Acts 15, Paul's many adherences to the Old Law, and how the church was a mimicry of the synagogue.

Any tho'ts?
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Old 07-21-2001, 01:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Starbug:
<STRONG>Ish, I expected someone to quote those verses. But what I want to know is, did the early Christians view themselves as a sect of Judaism that included Gentiles, or did they truly view themselves as a distinct relgion of its own?</STRONG>
Ah, I think I see what you're getting at.

This is really a tough question. However, it seems to me from the above verses that they were attempting to do away with "man's distinctions" like "sect" as well.

Quote:
Starbug:
<STRONG>Consider Acts 15, Paul's many adherences to the Old Law, and how the church was a mimicry of the synagogue.</STRONG>
I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here. Paul seems to be the one trying to make everyone understand that salvation does not come through Jewish law. I believe Paul speaks of the events of Acts 15 in Galations 2. He appears to call this "sect of Pharisees" at the Jeruslem meeting "false brothers...who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us" to the Jewish Law.

Anyway, I can't help but feel that you are witholding a point that you are trying to make... Are you sincerely asking questions, or do you have a point that you are coming to? (I'm not trying to be mean here, I'd just like to know where you're headed.)

Thanks,
Ish
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Old 07-21-2001, 02:14 PM   #8
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How did the early Christians view themselves?

Gad, that's a toughie. "Christian" is not used in the authentic Pauline epistles, instead they use the Elect, Saints, or Church of God. This tradition continues in 1 Clement, which uses the same terms and does not use "Christian." 1 Clement is usually dated to 95 CE, but Ellegard has moved it back into the 60s because of this linguistic habit.

The Essenes also referred to themselves as the Saints. Many scholars argue that Christianity grew out of the Essenes, in some way.

Can't recall offhand the first appearance of "Christian" in the literature.

Michael
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Old 07-21-2001, 06:34 PM   #9
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Having looked in Strong's it appears that the term Christian only appears three times in the New Testament:

Acts 11:26
Acts 26:28
1 Peter 4:16

At no point does the text give any origin for the term.

I would suggest that initially those who followed Christ were a group within Jewish culture and who maintained their Jewish traditions. However, this is not the case at Antioch, as will become apparent.

When Gentiles heard the Gospel and responded the church lost its Jewish exclusiveness - becoming a mixture of both Jew and Gentile.

This is where we get much of the dispute which goes on in the New Testament between Paul and the Jews in Jerusalem. Were Jews free from the Mosaic law or should Gentile converts become subject to it?

The council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:6 -&gt; )decided that Gentile believers shouldn't have to conform to Jewish traditions, especially with regard to circumcision.

I can only suggest that identity is always important to human beings and so it was necessary to identify the new amalgamated group and distinguish it from other religious groups.

This was either done by the believers themselves or by others commenting on them.

It is impossible to be more specific without arguing from silence.

Josephus indicates that Pharisees and Saduccees were sects within Judaism. I would suggest from reading the New Testament that most Jews viewed Christianity as a complete break away from Jewish custom although I'm not sure that this is how Christians saw themselves in the early stages.

Because Christians believed that Jesus was the Messiah (Greek 'Christ') then they saw themselves as a fulfilment of Old Testament promise and could have called themselves Christians for that reason.

What is interesting is that the term 'Christian' wouldn't immediately have linked them to Jesus in the eyes of their observers.

The term Christ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah. The term Christian would simply have come across as 'followers of the Messiah' to the Jewish contemporaries.

This is a very vague term and wouldn't have identified them as followers of Jesus.

It seems unlikely that they would have been given this title by Jesus' opponents who wouldn't have recognised him as the Messiah.

Going back to the quotes above regarding 'no Jew nor Greek, etc, etc' I would suggest that in a culturally mixed Church (Jew and Gentile) where there was much scope for, and indeed was much disagreement, the term Christian might have been a useful neutral term - the one point on which all the believers could agree - we follow the Messiah - and so I think the term is more likely to have come from the believers themselves.

In Galatians 2:11-16 Paul details some of the cultural problems which arose at Antioch and the problems which Jews and Gentiles had mixing together. Verse 16 gives Paul's arguement for their unity - Christ!

The term Christian could have been a response to this situation - a way of remedying it. A way of believers concentrating on what they had in common rather than their differences.
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Old 07-21-2001, 09:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>How did the early Christians view themselves?

Gad, that's a toughie. "Christian" is not used in the authentic Pauline epistles, instead they use the Elect, Saints, or Church of God. This tradition continues in 1 Clement, which uses the same terms and does not use "Christian." 1 Clement is usually dated to 95 CE, but Ellegard has moved it back into the 60s because of this linguistic habit.

The Essenes also referred to themselves as the Saints. Many scholars argue that Christianity grew out of the Essenes, in some way.

Can't recall offhand the first appearance of "Christian" in the literature.

Michael</STRONG>
It is my opinion that Christianity is not a religion and can never be part of a religion because it is the END of religion which in this case was, or came to be known, as Catholicism. It makes religion a means to an end and thus the condition of being Christian the end of the means to the end.

Yes this means that a Christian is a saint, or a God, or a Christ, or just a man who has completed the race and succesfully followed the footsteps of Jesus and so completed his journey to become fully Christ. Notice that also Jesus of Nazareth needed to complete his own journey to become fully Christ wherefore he was never called Christ until after the Resurrection.

Followers of Jesus should therefore be called Jesuits and not Christians.

It is foolish to be a follower of Christ because when Jesus became Christ he left the scene and thus it is impossible to be a follower of Christ.

The word Christian was probably coined by self proclaimed Christians who wanted to be counted among the righteous and were therefore excommunicated by the Catholic church. This self proclaimed Christian is reborn of the earth instead of the sea and will therefore never be able to walk on water but will forever point at the historical Jesus as the only Christ (cf the first and second beast of Rev. 13).

Amos
 
 

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