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What is an Xian?
By Michael Hawkinson

Why we should remember the X.

Signs in the Catacombs OK, I admit that this is not something that normally would have been important to me. I mean, Who has not seen Xmas instead of Christmas? I was told that X meant Jesus but never had it explained to me. Because I had that understanding I was not surprised to see the word xian, as I knew it meant Christian. Recently I have seen and heard believers in the teachings of Jesus arguing over the use of the word. Those opposed seem to think that using X in place of Christ is not acceptable and is "taking Christ" out of Christmas and christians. (Of course, I am not sure He was ever in Christmas and that might be said by many who call themselves christians as well.)

I have come to find deep meaning in the use of xian. Why? Because the X, the fish and many other symbols were used to identify christians. This was especially true During Nero's persecution (64 A.D.) Christians were persecuted, imprisoned, sentenced to exile or condemned to death. Unable to profess their faith openly, the Christians made use of symbols, which they depicted on the walls of the catacombs and, more often, carved them on the marble-slabs which sealed the tombs. The X stood for "Xristos", the Greek word for Christ. Christ is not Jesus' last name but is a title. Jesus is the Messiah and Xristos is greek for Messiah.

When I use xian or Xian, it reminds me of the persecution many believers face today. I cannot write many of my friends openly as they would face persecution and even death should they be exposed as believers. The command to share the faith is not something they can take lightly. Americans should wake up and realize that tolerance is disappearing for God's people. There may be a time that we may have to meet secretly and risk our jobs, education and lives to share the great news of the Messiah! We know that the AntiChrist will arise someday and we may be the generation to see him.

So, should we take the X out of Xian? I think not! Instead, put Xristos (Christ) back into X! We should seriously think about Xristos, I mean the roots of our faith. Too many times we live our lives without Xristos. That is to say that we need to look to the author and finisher of our faith! May our minds be on Him always!!

Copyright 1998


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