Over the last fifty years, the Western church across Europe and North America has been losing between 7,500 and 11,000 members per day. It is a collective loss of over 100 million Christians. These staggering losses have been offset some by the dramatic growth of the immigrant churches in the West. But, we are clearly entering into a period known as the “post-Christian west.” Over time this has resulted in the steady loss of a Christian consciousness in Western culture.
One of the ways this can be observed has been the precipitous decline in biblical vocabulary. Oh, don’t get me wrong, many of the words are still being used, but the meaning of the words has taken a sharp departure from the actual biblical meaning. The Church has been particularly susceptible to this. Thus, I thought it would be interesting to devote a piece to posting the “current” understanding of a few words and placing them side by side with the “biblical” understanding of the same word.
Here are a few examples:
1) Love (pop culture) – An emotive feeling someone has towards another person or towards God.
Love (biblical) – A covenantal commitment to live and act in fidelity, loyalty and faithfulness.
2) Judgment (pop culture) – An “out of control” act caused by anger and usually fueled by partisan ideas. (This is closely related to the use of the word “judgmental” which has taken on a universally negative association as one who has a bad attitude towards someone.)
Judgment (biblical) – God acting in holy-love to set things right, restore justice and establish peace in conformity with His reign and rule.
3) Marriage (pop culture) – A relationship of convenience between any two people for the sake of personal happiness and sexual fulfillment.
Marriage (biblical) – A divinely ordained life-time relationship between one man and one woman of covenantal, self-donating love, which overflows in becoming co-creators with God through the fruitfulness of child bearing, reflecting the beauty of the Triune God.