Andy Stanley — Working It Out
Throughout this series, we’ve talked about how Christianity has a branding problem. Part of that problem is terminology. In the first century, “Christian” was a derogatory term invented by people who disliked followers of Jesus.
It doesn’t have a concrete definition, which leaves us a lot of leeway to define it for ourselves. We tend to attach particular doctrinal or political beliefs to the word—beliefs that are important to us personally. For some people, “Christian” is synonymous with “conservative.” For others, it’s synonymous with “liberal.”
But Jesus never called his followers “Christians.” He called them “disciples.” That’s a scarier word because it actually means something. A disciple is a pupil or follower. A disciple learns and grows by obeying and imitating his or her master. And Jesus made it very clear how he wanted his followers to behave:
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)