It was not the followers of Christ who started calling themselves Christians. It was those outside of the church in a place called Antioch. I am sure the term was used in a derogatory fashion. The believers referred to themselves as “The Way”.
That is not what most concerns me however. Names matter little. It’s the categorization that worries me. What happens when the Jewish people come to a realization that Jesus Christ truly is the Messiah that they have been waiting for. Are they to start calling themselves Christians? Their Jewish heritage is richer than ours. The Jewish believers in Christ’s day were just that; Jewish believers in Christ. You were either a Jewish follower of Christ or you were a Gentile follower. Now we have this new designation that I think is a barrier to those who might otherwise embrace Christ.
We had a couple a Muslim foreign exchange students with us two years ago. We had some amazing conversations because they were fairly familiar with the Old Testament. By the time they went back home they were calling themselves Messianic Muslims, seeing how Christ connects in their faith. As I said in the previous post, Christ didn’t come to start a new religion. He came to save the whole world. Let’s not put up barriers with our institutional mind sets.