Do You Speak “Christianese?”

It’s a language spoken by those meshed into church culture.  “Churchy” Christians speak it fluently!  Let me illustrate.
“I’m so glad I’m saved, regenerated and born again.  I appreciate His wonderful mercy and grace in my life.  Every day I seek His face, asking Him to meet every need of my life, as I place my hands in His nail-scarred hands.  I ask Him to lead, guide and direct me in His perfect will.   I plead the blood over all the details of my life.  I invite Him to daily convict me of my sin that I might experience His sanctifying grace.  I look forward to each and every Lord’s Day, when I gather with those of like-precious faith to lift up holy hands and to hear messages from God’s Holy Word.  I enjoy listening to the testimonies of God’s saints.  What about you?  Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb?”
Did you enjoy the preceding cliché festival?
I’m really not trying to poke fun at what I call “Christianese,” the language of many who hide behind church doors and who seldom, if ever, mingle with those outside the world of church. But I do want you to understand that while we’re not of the world, we’re still in it; and we need to communicate the Gospel in ways that those outside the realm of church life can clearly understand.
I am on a quest to remind Christians everywhere to re-think their manner of communication to those who are far from God and who need to find new life in Christ. I believe I’m accurate when I say the world knows more about what the church is against, than what the church is for!  I still laugh about the little girl who after returning from church was asked by her father, “What did the pastor preach about today?”  She replied, “Sin.”  He then said, “What did he say about it?”  She replied, “I think he’s against it!” 
Law-based preaching seemingly dominates our pulpits, while anti-grace proponents continue to harshly judge and criticize those who are trying to make a difference in a generation that continues to remain suspect of the church’s real message.   
Perhaps like you, I surf Facebook quite regularly.  And I’m constantly amazed at how predictably many Christian streams communicate the gospel message.  I find that a lot of Christian ministries forget their target audience.  They speak “Christianese” to people who either have never darkened the door of a church, or who know little about the Christian Faith.  And sadly, communication breakdowns continue to create barriers.
Then, I regularly note that Christians and churches in general tend to “talk down” to people.  I often say, “You don’t achieve positive results with a negative (condescending) message.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is earth’s greatest, most compelling message.  Why then do we major on what’s wrong with people?  Why do we often emphasize what we’re against? 
I completely understand that God has not gone soft on sin, but I don’t believe we have to beat people up with a hard-sell message.  Many sermons and churches communicate with law-based Bible thumping instead of hope-filled messages.  We often hear, “You should…” “You never…” You always…”  These three phrases, when used by spouses during marital spats incite further anger; so what makes us think our listeners are going to embrace what we say if we constantly tell them “what they’re not doing?” Remember, “the Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).   
In addition, we have more than enough angry messengers.  Perhaps some preachers who say, “We love the sinner, but hate their sin,” struggle with personal biases and anger issues that override any good they attempt to achieve.  I recently heard a minister talking about “those sick-o fags,” all the while discerning anger, even hate in his voice.  Angry preaching and angry preachers always discredit our Gospel of love.
I also grow weary of ministers criticizing other churches and other well-meaning, sincere ministers of the Gospel.  This serves only to aid and abet the enemy camp.  Why would any Christian sit under a minister who constantly criticizes and maligns other churches outside their stream of theology and practice?  This anger-driven type of ministry smacks of self-righteousness.  The world needs to see our love for one another in the face of disagreement. I applaud all the Christ-honoring churches in Jefferson!
Yes, Jesus is Holy.  Yes, He is the way to heaven.  Yes, He wants us to serve Him with our whole heart.  But on the flipside, the Apostle Paul reminds us that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: That while we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  And He needs us, His representatives of grace, to speak this language in a clear and effective manner.   
Always remember, while “Christianese” is a major language spoken by many church-goers, it has a lot of dialects, and they too tend to bring conflicting messages to a world that is desperately looking for relevant answers to life’s every day problems. Perhaps we need to quit defending what we believe and engage people out of a broken heart. 
Do we hate what sin does in peoples’ lives, or are we more interested in setting people straight according to the dictates of our personal convictions?  The late evangelist, David Wilkerson used to tell preachers, “Sermons that have not been wept over have no place in the pulpit.” Perhaps he was right.
Let’s determine as God’s people to speak in understandable terms to those who are far from God and never darken the door of our churches.  Let’s communicate on their level of understanding and make this wonderful Gospel relevant and easy to embrace. I’ve heard it said for years, “Preach the Gospel and use words if necessary.”

  

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