Monday, February 8, 2010

Defining Christian Buzzwords

I've been kicking around the idea of creating a Bible study on what I'm calling "Christian buzzwords." By that I mean all those words we throw around within Christian circles but often fail to think clearly about or define well. And also some of those words that we as Biblical Christians should be able to define and use, but often can't. Listening to a recent episode of The White Horse Inn today got me more stirred up about pursuing this study. They were playing comments from students at a Christian college, in response to being asked what the term justification means. And the responses were...well, not encouraging. All the way from "I have no idea what that means," to "living right so as to justify God letting us into heaven," to "I'm not into that, I'm just trying to find out what God wants of me every day." These are students at a Christian college, mind you. The Reformers, who gave their very lives for the truth of justification by faith alone, would be tearing their garments at hearing these responses from self-professed Christian young people.

This really got me cranked up. I'm becoming more and more convinced that the church is losing her ability to speak in the language of Christian faith. That we are losing our understanding of the meaning of so many words that have been the common tongue of the faith once for all delivered to the saints for two millennium. And not just our young people, but at all levels of the church. As I teach other studies to adults in our church, I'm discovering that I can't use many terms like justification, sanctification, righteousness, etc without first defining them, because people have such superficial understandings of the Biblical meaning of these words. The terms that are the building blocks of Biblical faith and doctrine need to be relcaimed so that the church of Jesus Christ can communicate these essential truths first among ourselves, and then to the lost world we live in.

So here's my starting list of Christian buzzwords and terms that I am looking to build a study around, in no particular order. Can you Biblically and clearly define these terms? Comments and suggestions for others are welcome.

  • Salvation
  • Justification
  • Sanctification
  • Grace
  • Faith
  • Church
  • Theology
  • Gospel
  • Law
  • Sin
  • Regeneration
  • Propitiation
  • Atonement
  • Redemption

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