The Power of Words

Words are important.  Words are what we use to communicate.  Words communicate meaning.  I love the way every “world” has its own set of specialized words.  If, for example, you enter into the equestrian world you must learn the difference between a trot, a canter and a gallop.  You learn that a “saddle” is made up of three parts – the pommel, the seat and the cantle.  This is true for everything.  If you enter the world of baseball you quickly learn what a 5-4-3 “triple play” is.  You learn about “designated hitters” and the “infield fly rule.”   If you enter the world of “cooking” you should know the difference between a recipe which tells you to “braise” or “caramelize” or “sauté” something.   Precise language is important in conveying meaning in any world you can possibly think of.  A canter is a “three-beat” gait.  If you make it four you are galloping.  Language matters.  The National League does not use “designated hitters,” only the American League does.  Precision matters.   If you are going to caramelize something you had better have some kind of torch, like a crème brulee torch.    This is what it means to enter into any world whether it be the world of microbiology, the world of exercise, financial investment, or the world of construction.   Not everyone needs to know what a capsid is, or an isometric exercise, or a box crib, but if you are going to enter any of those worlds you must also enter into the language and meaning of that world or you will never thrive in that world.  If you hire an investment person who, as it turns out, never really bothered to learn the difference between an IRA and a Roth IRA, or the difference between an index fund and a hedge fund, you had better find yourself a new investment manager.

Here’s my point:  Christianity is no different.  When someone properly and fully enters into the Christian faith they will encounter many new and important words, like the difference between “justification” and “sanctification.”   To become a Christian you will inevitably learn many new, rich and powerful vocabulary words like “atonement,” “incarnation,” and “Trinity.”   I was at a Camp meeting one time and heard many popular expressions you would not hear in a Walmart aisle such as, “plead the blood,” or “the sawdust trail,” and a “move of God.”  Words are important because words convey meaning.  Anyone who suggests that we come up with a Christian faith stripped of all specialized vocabulary and only using common words found only in daily discourse is actually promoting the death of Christianity.  Brothers and sisters, we must not shy away from introducing people into the wonderful world of Christian vocabulary.   To say foolish things like “we don’t want to put someone off” misses the fact that a person who wants to ride a horse wants to know what that “the-thing-you-grab-onto” when you ride a horse is called a pommel.  Someone who loves cooking would be delighted to learn all the possibilities of a crème brulee torch.  Every National League Baseball fan loves to “rib” their American League Baseball fan friends that they don’t play “real” baseball because they use designated hitters.  The world of Christianity is a world far more amazing than any of the “worlds” this blog has discussed, because Christianity is an eternal world.  You will not need to know the difference between an IRA and Roth IRA in heaven, but for all eternity we will be rejoicing in the “incarnation” and the “Triune” God.  So, dig deep my friends!  Drink deeply from this wonderful well called Christianity.  Don’t let anyone rob you of its true majesty.


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