A skeptic said to me that the bible never called anyone a Christian.

I then quoted him the 3 references in The New Testament of early followers of Christ were indeed referred to as Christian(s). 1 Peter 4:16, Acts 26:28, Acts 11:26 

He then changes his stance & says that God never called them Christians. Therefore the word Christian is a man made word.

How would you guys respond to this?

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   Well, Jesus is God (John 1:1), The Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and since the Bible, being inspired by God. Inspired the author who wrote Acts which was where the name Christian is first used. So, God did, in a sense, call us Christians.

Now, my question to him would be. Where are you going with this? Like what is he trying to prove? What does the name Christian have to do with being man made?

Hope this helps.

I understand christians was a slur word started in antioch. it meant filkled with christ. Some corrupted idea of filled with the holy spirit.

it was a slur just like puritan was. or today fundamentalist. Or indeed WASP, white, man, etc etc etc 

I understand the same as Robert, that Christian was a negative connotation...by the unsaved populace.  I also understand that the followers of Jesus were called disciples. 

The writer of acts (Luke) was giving a an accurate account of the disciples and their travels.
In acts Luke mentions the epicureans and stoics and their basic philosophical views. Being an educate physician he was very detailed...

This depends on the purpose of the objection. Is the skeptic arguing that the people who call themselves Christians wrong? Since words have meaning, it a case of relaying the same meaning as taught in the bible. It also involves the etymology of the word:


The Greek word Χριστιανός (Christianos), meaning "follower of Christ", comes from Χριστός (Christos), meaning "anointed one",[21] with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or even belonging to, as in slave ownership.[22] In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ, messiah), meaning "[one who is] anointed."[23] In other European languages, equivalent words to Christian are likewise derived from the Greek, such as Chrétien in French and Cristiano in Spanish.

The apostle Paul recognised the term

Act 26:28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
Act 26:29  And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

The apostle Peter also recognised the term

1 Peter 4:16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Acts 11:26  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.

God called them many names: My friends:

John 15:14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Luke 12:4  And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

The skeptic might reject that Jesus was God, but you don't have to accept their stance as the measumentof the debate. As these verses show:

John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ...
... John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Donald thanks for your excellent response, I do not have the information I had studied at hand, but the word Christian was used with a negative connotation by the leaders of the day, There is extra biblical writing about that very thing.  Also while Christians are used several times, It was disciples that they most often called themselves. 

For the sake of comment not that this should mean anything to this either way..."Christians today can be Socialists, abortion supporters, anarchists, Leftist ideology, euthanasia, you name it and still call themselves Christians.  It seems they can almost be anything.

but a disciple is one who follows the dictates of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, using the gifts for good, and protecting life, and so on.  IF I can find this information, let me also post it.  Becasue I am pretty sure the approach to Christians by the leaders of the day was not a positive embellishment.  IF you read about communion and other things that Christians do, the unsaved leaders of the day believed they ate flesh and drank blood?  

Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome. . . .

Pliny the Younger
Another important source of evidence about Jesus and early Christianity can be found in the letters of Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan. Pliny was the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. In one of his letters, dated around A.D. 112, he asks Trajan’s advice about the appropriate way to conduct legal proceedings against those accused of being Christians. Pliny says that he needed to consult the emperor about this issue because a great multitude of every age, class, and sex stood accused of Christianity.

At one point in his letter, Pliny relates some of the information he has learned about these Christians:

They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food–but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.{

Pliny’s reference to the Christian custom of sharing a common meal likely alludes to their observance of communion and the “love feast.” This interpretation helps explain the Christian claim that the meal was merely food of an ordinary and innocent kind. They were attempting to counter the charge, sometimes made by non-Christians, of practicing “ritual cannibalism.”  The Christians of that day humbly repudiated such slanderous attacks on Jesus’ teachings. 

Evidence from Lucian
Lucian of Samosata was a second century Greek satirist. In one of his works, he wrote of the early Christians as follows:

The Christians . . . worship a man to this day–the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.

Suetonius (c. A.D. 69 - c. A.D. 140)

Lives of the Caesars

Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.

Lives of the Caesars

Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.



Julius Africanus  (c. 160 - c. 240)
refers to writings by Thallus and Phlegon concerning the darkness during the Crucifixion:

On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun...Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth - manifestly that one of which we speak.

What you seem to get is many the leaders of the day had a negative view of Christ and Christians.... And the term "Christians" was not used in the positive sense.... out side of the believers fold and was often a negative inference, as it carried many of the false beliefs of the time as to what Christians were....

I need to be more clear, here..  My response was to Robert Byers and also a follow up to Donald's post which was very good!

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