Introduction to Series « What does it mean to be a Christian? »

Christ, during the Last Supper, prepares his disciples for his imminent departure. He tells them, “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34-35, The Message)

We should be known for our love, but what are Christians known for in our society? 

According to the research conducted by the Barna Group and analyzed by David Kinnaman in his book unChristian, North American Christians are considered by the society-at-large to be:

  1. Hypocritical: Christians say one thing but live something entirely different.
  2. Insincere: Christians are only concerned with converting others.
  3. Anti-homosexual: Christians show contempt for gays and lesbians.
  4. Sheltered: Christians are boring, unintelligent, old-fashioned, and out of touch with reality.
  5. Too political: Christians are primarily motivated by a political agenda and promote right-wing politics.
  6. Judgmental: Christians are prideful and quick to find faults in others.

Beyond just introducing the reader to the negative perceptions that society has of Christians, the author provides solutions to changing these perceptions so that Christians are instead “known by our love.” We will consider these new perceptions throughout this series on what it means to be a Christian.

This series is also inspired by a book treating this very subject entitled The Adjective of Antioch: An Interpretation of the Supreme Question “What Is It to Be a Christian?” written by Meshach Paul Krikorian, an Armenian Christian who fled persecution from the Turkish Cilician massacre  in which his father and seventeen of his male relatives were killed. He immigrated to the United States where he became a minister and author of this and three other books on the Christian life. The book challenges the flippant way in which we ascribe the adjective “Christian” to cultural entities (Christian music), institutions (Christian college), and society (Christian nation). Inspired by Acts chapter eleven, he identifies seven aspects of a biblical usage of the term “Christian.”

  1. Saints: concerning a Christian’s identity
  2. Disciples: concerning the Christian’s mind
  3. Believers: concerning the Christian’s will
  4. Followers: concerning the Christian’s emotions
  5. Brethren: concerning the Christian’s love
  6. Anointed Ones: concerning the Christian’s life
  7. Apostle: concerning the Christian’s service

Thus, referring to both books, which are both intellectual and yet applicable, we can discern what it means to be unChristian and what it is to be Christian.

This video sums it up well:





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