Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Authorized Christian Jargon


Avast me Hearties! (Dear Friends),

Shiver me timbers! ‘Tis a foul storm approaching that be sending ye to Davy Jones Locker! Arrgghh! 

Today (Sept 19th) is INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY which I’m certain you are all celebrating and this just so happens to be one of my favorite holidays! When I was a young lad, my career goal was to become a pirate and while things didn't work out like I'd planned, it's probably for the best since it would be difficult for me to type this with a troublesome hook in place of my right hand. But I still love watching the old Errol Flynn pirate movies; I live my boyhood dreams on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland and every September 19th I can thoroughly annoy my loved ones by talking like a pirate. Aye, me Beauty, whars me grog? (Singing) Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me..

What does all this have to do with our Christian faith? Pirate jargon uses antiquated and obscure words with unclear meanings that make people laugh. Christian jargon uses antiquated and obscure words with unclear meanings that make people confused.

While us believers don't yet have a secret handshake, the secret language that we use to communicate with each other can be just as exclusive and alienating to those who may be outside the clubhouse doors and trying to get in. If you've been with other people who unintentionally excluded you from their conversation by speaking in a language you didn't understand, you know what that feels like. 


Our “Christianese” can exclude the very people we are trying to reach. If I invite someone to “ask Jesus into your heart,” she may have no idea what I'm talking about. If I tell her that, “Jesus was the propitiation for her sins,” she'll need a dictionary to understand me. If I tell her that “Jesus made atonement for her so that she'll be justified, redeemed and sanctified,” her eyes will glaze over. 

But what if I tell her that “Humans have been separated from God by our rebellious nature and that’s what we call sin. And, Jesus, through His sacrificial death upon the cross, paid the penalty for our sins. When we accept and believe in Jesus, then our relationship is restored with God and we will have eternal life.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with our using the beloved words and phrases that describe our  beliefs and how we live out our faith. It's all biblical and it's the language that we use to effectively communicate with each other. But when we're speaking to a non-Christian, or a new believer unfamiliar with Christian jargon, we need to speak their language, not ours. 

Whether giving someone driving directions, talking politics or matters of faith, communication has not taken place unless the person we’re speaking with has understood what it is that we’re attempting to say.

When speaking to others about your faith, and communicating the “Good News,” always try to think about what you are saying from the perspective of the person to whom you are speaking. 

“Aye! When ye parley with yer Matey, speak smartly that they savvy!”
Colossians 4:6 (Authorized Pirate Version) 

“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone!”
Colossians 4:6 (NLT)

Until next week, me Hearties! Arrgghh!! 
I mean.. Amen?

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The AMEN Corner is a weekly devotional for the family and friends of New Hope Family Church. It is intended for this devotional to be strengthening, encouraging or comforting and your comments too should be for the glory of God and reflect the intended purpose of these posts.

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