10.21.2006

Walking on the Road of Biblical Language

The way in which we communicate is highly important. If given the choice between clarity or confusion in communication, I am sure that we would rather walk on the road that is paved with simplicity, truth, beauty, and clarity than to stumble on the path of confusion. Yet, I wonder if it is possible that we have confused and misguided people by some of the pop theological terminology that we have chosen to speak. For example, let's talk about the following phrase: "Have you asked Jesus into your heart?" I am sure that many of us have used this phrase or at least something similar; and likely, most of us know what is meant by this phrase. Yet, if you ask a child this question, you are likely to see a confused look come across his or her face (unless of course we have already programmed him to think and speak the language of pop theology.) I have doubts as to whether this non-biblical language is helpful. (I am inclined to believe that it merely clouds the waters of understanding) Instead of asking if people have "asked Jesus into their heart," why don't we mimic the language of scripture and say something like this: "Have you confessed with your mouth that 'Jesus is Lord'? Do you believe that God raised Him from the dead? Do you trust that His death and resurrection will save you from sin" (Romans 10:9). By speaking this way, we can actually take people to the scriptures. Where in the Bible will you go to show someone that they must "ask Jesus into their heart?" You can't. Why don't we speak as God has spoken to us in the Bible? Why don't we give the language of the bible priority over the language of "churchianity." Does this mean that we should do away with all words and phrases that cannot be found within the text of scripture? Certainly not. Many non-biblical words (such as "trinity") are very helpful because they serve as a sort "short hand" for biblical doctrine. Yet, some words and phrases are not so helpful. Now, I do not currently have a large list of phrases that we should discard from our vocabulary, but I am sure that a list will continue to formulate in my mind.

All in all, I believe my proposal is simple: give the language of scripture priority. As much as is possible and profitable, teach and speak in the words and manner in which God has chosen to speak to us in scripture. Hopefully, if we faithfully follow this pattern we will open the gates of clarity, so that people can walk into the light of God's word.

2 comments:

Travis said...

Man, Eric, it's really been incredible so far, I'll try to call you tommorow (sunday) if I have cell service. and you can see some cool photos on my blog too.

Travis said...

xanga.com/travisdoftime, if you forgot.