Q. Should we use the term "Christian" to describe ourselves as True Believers?
A. The reason you hardly see the designation “Christian” used in the Bible is that it was neither a term given by Yahweh nor a name True Worshipers called themselves. It was, in fact, a label slapped on followers of Yahshua by the Greeks. As Acts 11:26 tell us, the disciples were first called Christian at Antioch. Actually, the word was Christianos, the –anos termination was common in Grecian Asia. Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament tells us, “The name was coined by the pagans of the first century to identify the followers of the Christ from those who worshiped the Roman emperor who was called Caesar.”
The New Shaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge confirms the simple fact that True Worshipers did not go by the designation Christian: “That it originated outside of Christian and Jewish circles is most likely because (1) Christians spoke of one another as ‘the brethren,’ ‘the saints,’ ‘the disciples,’ ‘the faithful,’ etc. (2) the Jews used the term ‘Nazarene’”
Another source brings to light these findings: “It seems wide use of the name did not come into vogue in the empire, however, till the reign of Hadrian (117-138 C.E.) or Antoninus Pius (138-161 C.E.). Pagans, unfamiliar with the confessional title ‘Christos’ (Messiah), mistakenly understood it as a proper name,” Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, p.142. This reference further notes, “By the late first and early second centuries the name ‘Christian,’ which early believers avoided using of themselves, was beginning to be accepted.”
The early New Testament believers commonly considered their proper way of worship as simply that, "the way." Rather than “Christian,” the early New Testament believers simply saw themselves as followers of this way of truth. In fact, in Acts, that is how their beliefs were characterized. They were people of this special “way” (see Acts 9:2; 18:25-26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14; 22—cp. John 14:6). The Jews who refused to accept Yahshua called His followers Nazarenes, Acts 24:5, or referred to them as the sect of heretics, Acts 28:22, 24:14, or Galilaeans.
We do not follow a Greek “Christos,” and all that such a designation means with a modern worship that is steeped in Greco-Roman paganism. Rather, we follow the true Hebrew Messiah and that faith that was first given to the Hebrews and now is passed on to us, Jude 3. Therefore we use the term “True Worshipers” or “True Believers” to specify those who are of the truth of Yahshua.
Calling the Savior by a Greek title obscures the fact that He is from the tribe of Judah. Our Savior said that salvation is of the Jews, John 4:22, not the Greeks.
The term Christian was used contemptuously by Roman Governor Agrippa in Acts 26, who mocked Paul by saying, “With but a little persuasion you would fain make me a “Christian” (literal translation of verse 28). Agrippa knew that to become what he called a “Christian” would have meant certain loss of his governorship if he were serious.