“Christians talk funny.”
This is a sentiment I’ve heard from many a non-Christian over the years. The truth is that Christians have their own lingo and their own vocabulary. Sometimes it can be alienating to folks. Sometimes it is quite hilarious–if we are honest enough to admit it (as in this video here).
But our lingo–our “Christianese” if you will–can sometimes be mistaken. Or at least partially so. It can attempt to express a theological truth that (sometimes) bring more confusion than clarity.
So, I am beginning a new blog series about the way we talk as Christians. This series is designed to analyze a number of theological phrases or practical bits of Christians wisdom that may simply be wrong, or at least misunderstood. Or maybe both.
Now to be clear, I will not be suggesting that the instances of Christianese we will be exploring in this series are necessarily wrong. Taken properly, they may be right in many ways. But, of course, that is precisely the issue. Often they are not taken properly. Instead they can be used to justify some questionable theological views.
So, the goal of the series–and this is important to get–is not to refute these phrases but to clarify, to nuance, and to balance out these phrases. In the world of theology, lack of nuance is one step (often a big step) towards doctrinal error.
Let me also say that the list below is by no means exhaustive. Nor is the list below intended to represent the worst or most inaccurate ways we speak as Christians. On the contrary, I (and all of us) have heard much worse!
But, these are phrases I hear quite a bit and think would be useful to address.
That said, I welcome suggestions from readers about other phrases I may have missed or that you think may make worthy additions to the series. Please just offer your suggestions in the comments below. If I get some good ideas, I will extend the series to address them.
So, here’s the forthcoming series as it currently stands (click on the links below to read more):
4. “We have freedom in Christ”
8. “It’s not my place to judge someone else”
9. “God views all our works as filthy rags”
10. “Jesus is neither a democrat or republican”