What is a Christian? (Tutor notes)

Tutors need to read Rom 10 and Luke 14 and understand the story of the Prodigal son. The present course is designed to introduce new members of the faith to the basic ideas, so be prepared for some long held misunderstandings to appear. Always encourage a going back to what the bible says. It’s useful to have a concordance at hand and remember the basic answer when needed. “I don’t know but I will find out and let you know”. Keep the discussion/teaching focused on the subject, “What is a Christian” at ALL times.

1. When was the word “Christian” first used?

The formation of the word seems to be from Latin, where plural nouns ending -iniani may denote soldiers of a particular general. E.g. Galbiani, Galba’s men. Hence being partisans of an individual Christian(o)i may have been thought of as “soldiers of Christ” or partisans of Christos.

Luke places the first use of the word at Antioch. (Acts 11:26) circa A.D. 40 The use of the word was well established by A.D. 60 Nero trumped up a charge against a “sect”, “whom the common people were calling Christians”.

2. Who or what is a Christian?

An exploration into the more precise reasons for naming a person Christian. Going to church? There are many who are still dead in sin. The devils believe the bible. Faith in what? Muslim believers pray at least five times a day, and most fervently, but this will not save them or make them Christians. Hindus are very religious but not Christians. Many people talk about Jesus but do not know Him. To be born again? Explain this term more fully. Born again can be the beginnings of a discussion to establish the essential nature of a Christian. Read and consider the seed in Scripture

In the final analysis a Christian is one who acknowledges Jesus as Lord and Saviour. To arrive at this point could be an interesting discussion particularly defining what this means. We are the body of Christ. What does this mean?

Look carefully at the word “Lord”. Just what do we really mean by this?

3. Three Greek words

We have noted that the latter part of the word Christian establishes the “follower” meaning, but note the first part. The reference to the three Greek words is to draw attention to the idea of the triune background of the words. It is interesting to consider the idea of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit as the anointing upon the anointed one and who poured.. Investigate the association of oil with anointing and its typology.

4. Some important ideas

These ideas are to bring attention to two essentials in the “being a Christian” question. Repentance is basic as is faith. Impossible to fully trust God (have faith) if one fails to turn away from the Adamic nature. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Explore the Prodigal son story.

And the faith chapter.

5. In whom can we trust?

To be a Christian is to trust the Lord in all things and this involves obedience to all His teachings and, more particularly, to hear His voice.

6. Growing a strong Christian

These verses in Romans set forth salvation very clearly but are also a very good summary of Christian activity and what is needed to be strong.

7. A Christian is a person who . . .

This might be a good exercise for “homework” And a beginning for the next discussion