Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jesus Had it All Wrong?

Here we go again.

Normally, I enjoy much of what Ron Hutchcraft says. Today was different. Maybe it is just because he touched on a subject I'm so tired of and view as a rabbit-chase. I'm not out to get Ron Hutchcraft, but I'm so tired of hearing people talk about "not using Christian terms" when witnessing.

You can find his transcript here.

Ron Hutchcraft is rightfully concerned about getting the gospel out. But here we go again -- putting the emphasis on man rather than God. While I would agree that some phrases simply aren't even scriptural (such as "accept Christ as Savior"), there are a number of issues that I would like to address.

According to Ron, if we use the wrong words, someone may miss the Savior? No, Ron, not if God is sovereign and He has chosen His own. Jesus has already said that those who are drawn by Him will come to Him and all that the Father gives the Son will come to Him. Furthermore, Jesus says that no one can come to the Father unless they are drawn by Him (Just read John 6). In other words, clever language won't do it. It's an inside job done by the Holy Spirit. We are simply called to proclaim the Gospel. God will give the growth as we obey Him.

And what of Jesus? In John 3, when He was speaking to Nicodemus, did he give him "user friendly terminology"? No! The text says that Nicodemus reponded to the words "Born Again" with " How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" (John 3:4)

I guess Jesus had it all wrong?

And after 2000 years of using these terms, all the sudden they can't be used? Sorry Ron, I don't buy it. Especially in this day and age where redefining Christianity is so prevalent.

Ron wants to suggest that we should redefine sin as "running our own life instead of letting God run it". Yet, the biblical definition (among others) is "missing the mark" -- in other words, to not be perfect as God is. That is a big difference in definition. Again, the stress is taken off the need to "...be holy as God is holy" to just redirecting control to God. That doesn't cut it. Instead of a sinner needing to have forgiveness and the imputed righteousness of Christ, it's a simple matter of "letting God run your life".

I was sitting in Sunday School a couple of months ago. The Pastor was going on and on about "christianese". One after another, he would throw Biblical words up in the air like so many skeet. With each word, the cue to "shoot the skeet" was his question "What's wrong with that?". Of course, many said what he wanted to hear each time. And I just sat and listened.

When he got to "repentance", I had had enough. When he asked "What's wrong with the word 'repentance', I just replied "NOTHING".

The argument is that (supposedly) people don't understand these words. I don't think that is the case. How many times have you heard lost people joking about "I'd better repent or I'll go to hell". They understand. I think we're just ashamed of the words. So we want to soften them.

But what if they really don't understand the meaning of the terms? What would be wrong with explaining them? That is never even suggested, and that is really sad.

The words we use should be from God's Word. To make up new words, especially when they don't even convey the true meaning of the original is, I think, very wrong (and yes, I understand that translators have to construct terms to communicate truth in a new translation...but they are trying to convey what is in the original languages, not dumb the message down). It's kind of like a Bible study I went to years ago and one of the leaders would get the definition of a word from a modern english dictionary instead of digging into a just as easy to read Vines (Greek) Expository Dictionary. The result? A superficial, errant definition of a word in the Biblical text.

Sorry, but I have an issue with sloppy research.

So, back to our main point -- What else can a person do with an unfamiliar term? They can do what Nicodemus did -- ask! If the person isn't even interested enough to ask simple questions, are they really interested in what you are saying? Indeed, perhaps that was the very reason Jesus used the terms he used -- to spark interest and gain attention.

"Our word today from the Word of God" would seem to be contrary to what God Himself did in human flesh. Or did Jesus do it wrong?

It's not that hard, Ron. Do what Jesus did, not what you think he'd do.

No comments: