My dear friend, thank you for your very interesting question, and I truly pray that I can help clear up any confusion that might exist due to what someone has said to you. Truly, I confess that I have never heard of such a teaching, and if I understand the statement correctly, I pray that you not be troubled any further by such an untruth. In short, there is nothing pagan about the term “Christian,” and though it is only used in the New Testament 3 times, this term is very appropriate indeed for true believers (followers) of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, I believe that this should be the only name by which true Christians should want to be identified. I realize that the universal church, or body of Christ, is quite divided into denominations these days, and that is such a sorry thing. Many of those denominations identify themselves or are identified by others by adding the suffix “ite” or “ian” or “an” to the name of the founder of that denomination; this type of reference would not be Scriptural as I see it, but rather believers should only desire the term, Christian. Martin Luther, after the reformation, did not want his followers to call themselves “Lutherans,” but rather he wanted believers to be identified only as Christians. In the assemblies where I am in fellowship, we shun all denominational names as being “so-called of men”, and we only refer to ourselves as “Christians,” or “Christians gathered unto the Name of the Lord.” But, the term “Christian”, regardless of who first used it, is very appropriate. The root of this name is “Christ,” and the suffix indicates that indeed we are true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head and center of His church.

But, in order to explore this further, I consulted one of the elders and teachers in the assembly where I am in fellowship, and he related the following: “The word “Christian” is found in three places in the New Testament: Acts 11:26, 26:28, and 1 Peter 4:16.  In all three places the Greek word is “Christianos” or another appropriate ending in place of “os.”  My Greek Lexicon gives the meaning of “Christianos” as simply, “a Christian.”   I have never heard of an alternative meaning of the Greek word ‘Christianos’.”

Additionally, I’ll quote from the Morrish Bible Dictionary regarding the term “Christian”: A title first applied to professed believers at Antioch, (Acts 11: 26). Agrippa used it when addressing Paul, (Acts 26: 28).  Peter accepts it, saying that to suffer as a ‘Christian ‘ is a cause of thanksgiving, (1 Peter 4: 16).

Now, my dear friend, let’s read Acts 11:25-26, “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch”. Since the Scriptures did not speak against this term, I believe that we can assume from this that the term “Christians”, whomever first coined it, was accepted by the believers at Antioch. We Christians are indeed followers of Christ Jesus. Our Lord Jesus was not just a human founder of a new religion, but rather He is the very Son of God (John 1:14). Thus, the term “Christian” is an apt and appropriate reference to true believers on the Lord Jesus Christ. But even more revealing is the fact that the Apostle Peter himself used the term in 1 Peter 4: 16 where we read: “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf”.

And now, my dear friend, let us always remember that being a “Christian” means that one is a true believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in His finished work for us for salvation on the cross of Calvary. I believe that there are many in the world today who claim to be Christians simply because they attend a church, but they have never really repented of their sins and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.  That term “Christian” has a very specific and special meaning. In Romans 10:9-10 we read, “…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. So, what’s in a name? Everything! The Lord knows the difference between those who are true Christians and those who simply call themselves that. He knows His own (II Timothy 2:19)!  (SF)  (511.6)