The word Christian(s) appears three times in the Bible. I have been told by a theologian that the Bible gives its own definitions, usually found in the same verse or those surrounding verse(s). So how does the Bible define the word Christian? The label was first attached to those believers in Antioch. So let’s go to these verses and see what made up a Christian:
~Acts 11:20-26 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. (20) And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. (21) Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. (22) Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. (23) For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. (24) Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: (25) 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. (26)
So the Christian church has these distinctions:
- They preached the Lord Jesus (verse 20)
- God’s hand was with them (verse 21)
- They led unbelievers to salvation and they turned to Christ (verse 21)
- News of their efforts was heard everywhere (verse 22)
- God’s grace was upon them (verse 23)
- They cleaved to the Lord (verse 23)
- They were filled with the Holy Spirit and faith (verse 24)
- They had a heart for the lost (verse 24)
- The church was the body of believers, not a structure (verse 26)
- They not only preached but they taught the people (verse 26)
- The christians were disciples (disciplined believers) (verse 26)
They preached the Lord Jesus Christ (verse 20)! They did not preach Mariology – they did not preach limbo or purgatory. They preached the Lord Jesus, salvation, faith, and as a result they were disciplined believers. God’s grace was upon them.
The catholic church has added so much to what was initially taught to the Christians in Antioch that they have muddied the waters. They have added the weight of works to the shoulders of their followers as a result of taking away from the perfect work of Jesus Christ. Jesus paid the price fully – there is no more payment to be made.
The catholic church does not preach faith alone in Jesus Christ as the way to salvation. They catholic church preaches that salvation comes from their church, through the sacraments and that Christ’s death on the cross is not sufficient but purgatory completes redemption. That is not to be found in these seven verses of Acts 11. Why? Again, it is because of magisterium and tradition. The foundation of catholicism is based on man-made doctrines, not the Scriptures. Therefore, they will be judged by their man-made doctrine and it will fall apart.