I’m hearing “Christ Follower” rather than “Christian” more often these days, especially on Christian radio and in blogs. Aren’t all Christians Christ Followers?
The term Christ follower is popular in the emerging church movement, where there’s more emphasis on the so-called social Gospel than on the redemptive Gospel. It’s an adaptation of James 1:19-24 where we’re told to be doers of the word, not just hearers.
James meant we should live moral, upright lives in accordance with God’s standards, but recently “being doers of the word” has been interpreted more as performing good deeds for others.
Many in this movement are not content with the traditional belief that the Church’s main purpose is to create and nurture believers (Matt. 28:19-20). Instead they have shifted the emphasis to social activism, even playing down the need to be born again.
Once a person is born again, working to improve life for others as an expression of gratitude for the free gift of salvation is good, as long as it’s being prompted by the Holy Spirit.
But according to John 15:5, if a person is not born again, or if his or her efforts are not prompted by the Holy Spirit, they are of no value. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”