May 30, 2006

It Is All Semantics

The past three years of my life were spent editing and writing. I still free-lance. During this time I have become aware of the power and/or powerlesness of a word. A word can be twisted and turned to mean just about anything the deliverer wants it to mean, but it can also take on a twisted and turned meaning as it the receiver receives it.

Sometimes arguments (especially theological one) could be avoided if people were simply more careful about their words and were careful to defing the words they use. Two people talking about spiritual gifts can be argueing, but really be in agreement.

The Church has also lost some important words through the years or at least lost their meaning. One of the biggest problems with an uneducated (theologically) ministry is that the words often get twisted. Not that this doesn't happen with educated ministry too!

Too many Chrsitians see theology as useless because the words have been too large and the concepts fought over incessantly. When in fact, theology is beautiful. And, it is best done when it is simple. Theology that does not result in good practice is bad theology. Theology that is separated from good practice is useless. Good practice that is separated from good theology is flimsy and weak (though I think better than good theology without good practice).

Here is an article about Dallas Willard and the use of words, and certain words we should redefine and not allow ourselves to lose. Be sure to check out the article, at the bottom is a great set of definitions.

Replacement Definitions - "When pastors employ these words in the context of spiritual formation (i.e. discipleship), they may intend one meaning, but people receive it differently. Or, more tragic, the rich biblical meaning of these words may be lost on church leaders who themselves have been fed a diet of theological clichés."

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