No, there is no evidence for this idea. If anything it is the name ‘Nazarenes” which was used by the early enemies of Christianity.

Use of two names in Acts

The idea is perhaps based on a misreading of Acts 11:26 which suggests that the name was coined by the people of Antioch in response to the year-long preaching efforts there by Barnabas and Saul:

Acts 11:26 “and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”

This does suggest that the name arose among the people of the city, but there’s nothing in this verse that suggests that it was in anyway derogatory or that Barnabas and Paul did anything to discourage the group at Antioch being called “Christians”.

Further evidence that the name was not (at least in the first few decades of the church) derogatory is found in a comparison of Acts 24:5 and Acts 26:28. When Paul was arraigned before Felix at Caesarea the Jewish lawyer Tertullus accuses Paul using the term “Nazarene”:
“For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.”
The Talmud and other rabbinical writings continued with the Hebrew term Notzri for Jesus (meaning the man from Nazareth), and Hebrew “Notzrim” for Christians, to avoid the implication in the Greek name “Christian”, which literally means “followers of the Anointed” (Christos in Greek). There is a Hebrew term for Christian, translated “Mashiyhiy” in the Hebrew New Testament, but this term is rarely used even in modern Hebrew sources such as Israeli newspapers, and is generally only used by Hebrew-speaking Jewish Christians themselves. Compare then Acts 26:28 where a more sympathetic, but still sceptical, Agrippa uses the term “Christian”:
And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” “
In this conversation Agrippa generally appears to be both neutral and fairly respectful. His is markedly different from Tertullus who would presumably have said “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Nazarene?”
This then is the earliest evidence concerning the name Christian – with both examples suggesting a fairly positive title, better than Nazarene. We now move on two decades, the beginnings of Roman persecution of the Christians.

Peter: Glorify God in the name “Christian”

As Christianity expanded in the Roman empire it began to meet opposition not just from Jews but from pagans. This led on to the persecutions of Nero and other emperors, and various Roman texts and inscriptions contain attacks on “Christians” as a strange new sect. This then is Peter’s response:

1 Peter 4:16  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

This is the only New Testament instruction regarding the name “Christian”, but it is clear enough. Those persecuted as “Christians” were to glorify God in the name, not deny it.

Bibles in most languages follow the Greek here, but for reference in the modern Hebrew New Testament the word Christian here is  מְשִׁיחִי meshikhí, anointed-ite., while Arabic is similar with مَسيحيّ masehi, and Persian مسیحی masihi – all of these follow the same Hebrew root, Messiah, ‘Anointed’, wheras Christos is Greek for Anointed.

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