Was Jesus a Christian?

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This is a subject that I put to some of my Bible students a few years ago. The reaction was heated but elicited a lot of Bible study. So think through your answer before you say that to say He was not a Christian is to blaspheme. I argue that He was not a Christian.

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004


Pastor Paris any informed clergy person or atleast I would hope that all Seminarians know this answer. I am sure that your exegesis supports your position as I have to agree with you.

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004

Intriguing question. My response would be no based on the principles of Aristotellian logic according to the rule of "Modus Ponen".

Proof: Jesus could not be a "Christian" because that would require Him being a follower of Himself. A person can not simultaneously be both a follower and a leader in time and space. The events are mutually exclusive. Since the conclusion results in a contradiction of the hypothesis (Jesus is a Christian), the proof is true by contradiction. I haven't worked out the formal mathematics to support this (I'm no Bertrand Russell or Kurt Vogel) but I suspect any trained mathematician can perform this computation. QED

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004

This is interesting. It may not be as simple as contradiction theory might indicate. For example what is the meaning of "Christian?"

One professes Christ to be the messiah, the savior? One who believes that Jesus will act as their intercessor at judgment? One who believes that they are joint heirs with Christ?

The base line answer is no he was a Jew and during the life of Jesus there were no "Christians."

But did Christ accept the teachings of Christianity?

Mathematically it might read like this:

Christ proclaimed what must be done in light of the new covenant and he was the fulfillment of said covenant

Acceptance of the new covenant relationship is indicative of Christians.

Therefore since Christ is the author of the relationship, then maybe he could be a Christian

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004

I would go as far as to say that Jesus was born of the Jewish faith. Christianity did not exist during Jesus time. Christianity was developed after the crucifixtion, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, which led to the mass religious movement of Christianity.

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004

Reverend Paris,

NO, Jesus was not a Christian He was a practicing Jew. The Bible tells us they were first called Christians at Antioch(Act 11:26). This was following the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost. The first Christians were simply a sect of the Jews. Christian was a derisive term like Methodist, which the followers of Jesus accepted and used.

Although Jesus often came in conflict with many who claimed to be pillars of the faith, Judaism was the faith with which he aligned. The Bible tells us of Him being presented in the Temple for circumcision was He was eight days old as Jewish Law required. (Luke 2:21). The fact that the Magi found Jesus and His mother in a house (Matthew 2:11) and not in a stable indicates that she had to remain in Bethlehem for 38 days, for her purification after bearing a man child. Thus, everyone except she and Joseph had once again gone back home, allowing them to then find lodging in a house. After her purification, Jesus was again presented at the Temple with the appropriate sacrifice (Luke 2: 22-24). They then fled to Egypt for the safety of the child.

In this same chapter of Luke we read of Jesus when he was twelve years old. We are told that He went with his earthly parents to observe the Passover – a Jewish Feast. The fact that He was lost for three day and found in the Temple talking with learned men of the faith indicates that he had a Bar Mitzvah as well. This is further indicated by the fact that at a later time He went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath and was given the Scripture to read, from which he selected a passage from the Prophet Isaiah. Finally His practice of Judaism is indicated by His receiving the Baptism of John before entering the public ministry and the choosing of Twelve Apostle representing the New Israel, reminiscent of the twelve original tribes.

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004

I agree with Sis/Bro? Lewis and brother Matthews Jesus was a Palestian Jew who observed orthodox Juadism. An interesting follow-up question would be is Jesus' last name Christ?

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004

Harold -

I propose that the definition of a "Christian" is a follower of Christ. Jesus is the raison d`etre of Christianity. This means that He is what the author of Hebrews declares as the author and finisher of our faith. Your altenative proof links Jesus with His acceptance of certain teaching. If I understand your alternative it would lead us into accepting the null hypothesis (Jesus is a Christian) because He accepted His Teaching. I believe your alternative is problematic and here is why. If I say I am a wise man simply because I accept the teachings of wise people does that in fact make me wise? I say no. I am merely believing my own press clipings regarding my alleged sage personna. I can only properly be judged to be a wise man based on actions not accepted beliefs. Or as the clinical psychologist would say I will have to minimize cognitive dissonance. Likewise, if we conclude that Jesus is a Christian based on His acceptance of "christian" teachings we are in effect saying that He is being defined according to what He taught. Unfortunately, that mode of reasoning is circular in nature and clouds the issue about the divinity of Christ. Speaking of Christ this term is an English interpretation of the Greek phrase "Anointed One". It is properly understood as a title not a surname as someone asked earlier. QED

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2004


Actually I agree with you, I think the question is irrational. It's like saying can someone be who they are. Bill are you a Dickensian? If I adopt your method of thinking or approach to life I would be a Dickensian but based on what you outlined you cannot be since you are. If the "Christ" term is a symbol of the divinity of Jesus and since Jesus is dual natured then am I incorrect to say he cannot be what he already is?

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2004

Harold -

I think a case can be made that Parson Paris' intriguing question is both irrational and rhetorical in nature. This is precisely why it is a fascinating discussion topic because it is "pregnant" with unlimited philosophical speculation. One word of caution for those who emphasize Jesus' "Jewishness" as proof he is not a Christian. Being a Jew is only a statement about ethnicity/race. The term 'Christian" is only applicable to theological identity not ethnic idetity. When the church leaders convened the first church meeing in Acts Chapter 15 one of the major conclusions was an affirmation of being both Jew and Christian. The fact that Jesus is dual natured, as you correctly note, indeed complicates my informal proof by contradiction. Oh well, back to the drawing board for me. QED

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2004

How about stating that Jesus grew up in the Jewish faith? He practiced the faith/religion originally given to God's Chosen people (Israel).

There is no way that He could have been a Christian because he did not die yet.


-- Anonymous, February 06, 2004

Rev. Pillay, what does his death have to do with it?

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2004

"Acts 11:26 And when he (Barnabas) had found him (Saul of Tarsus or Paul), he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."

NOTE: The believers called themselves disciples, not Christians. They were called Christians by the Gentiles to distinguish them from the Jews. The Jews, because of their Messianic hopes, would not call them Christians since that would be an admission that Jesus was the Christ or Messiah. They called them "Nazarenes" or "Galileans". A few scholars teach that the term "Christian" may have been a derogatory reference to believers, but there seems to be no direct evidence of such usage. J. Vernon McGee dismisses this idea. I suggest that to think it a derogatory term is putting today's spin on yesterday's history. So the term refers to the "followers of Christ" rather than to Jesus himself. To be absolutely correct the term refers to the followers of THE Christ, whom we believe to be the man crucified by the Romans at the request of the Jewish leaders of that day, whose body cannot be found, and we beleive was resurrected from the dead and currently sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty, making intersession for us. I said all that to distingush this Man Jesus from the many others of that day who were named Jesus" such as Barrabbas, the one released at the request of Jewish leadership instead of Jesus whom we know is the Christ.

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, February 09, 2004

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