I’m a word guy. I once served as a substitute teacher in juvenile lockup to a group of young ladies. During our hour together I taught them the meaning of the word “salubrious.” Later in the day, as the same group walked in silent single file led by a guard, one of them whispered the new word loud enough for me to hear. We exchanged smiles. Words are powerful.
One thing I know about words is we must carefully define them. When long standing definitions of words begin to change, everything starts to change. The older I get the more I realize the ramification of changing the meaning of words.
If you can change the definition of a word you can change the direction of a debate. And if you can change the direction of the debate you can win the debate.
If you’ve been wondering why the Church is losing ground and attendance is shrinking it is because the Church is being systematically destroyed by the subtle change in the meaning of key words.
Those who are angry against the church and want to disarm it can succeed by redefining key words. And when you change word meanings you can change the theology of an entire denomination.
Here’s a prime example. I dare you to use this phrase on Facebook: “but that’s a sin.” If you have any friends outside of your little church circle be prepared for your Facebook page to light up. Brace yourself. Why? Because the meaning of the word “sin” has undergone a redefinition. In our culture today it means “I’m-better-than-you-and-you-are-going-to-hell-and-I’m-not.” How dare you use the word sin?
Do you see the problem? When we cannot talk about sin it’s difficult to talk about the need for a Savior. And if the church cannot talk about the need for a Savior we may as well close the doors. We are out of business. And that’s what’s happening. Our culture has taught us we cannot say people are lost in their sin. And so we’ve backed down. We’ve lost our nerve. We’ve lost our voice. We are losing our way.
Sin is real. There, I said it. And sin, in my definition, is anything which displeases God. For the sake of clarity, when I talk about sin please be assured I am NOT just:
- pointing a finger at the gay population.
- pointing a finger at the alcoholic.
- pointing a finger at the drug addict.
- pointing a finger at the prostitute.
- pointing a finger at any political party.
- pointing a finger at other denominations.
- pointing a finger at my brother or sister or neighbor.
When I talk about sin I am pointing a finger first and foremost at MYSELF. I have judged myself and found myself falling short of what God wants. I am a sinner. And that means I need a Savior.
The challenge for the Church is to reach a culture which has redefined key words. We must find a way to help them understand there is a God who loves them.
So how does the Church reach out to people in our culture with the eroded definition of key words?
If you are part of a church what do think?
If you are not part of a church what can I do to reach out to you? Please. Tell me.
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