Neutral language

Posted on December 25, 2009

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Neutral language that our audience can understand

Christianese jargon Normal HumanSpeak: examples of equivalents
the Bible says
  • the biblical documents indicate …
  • a biblical perspective would be that …
  • a first-century follower of Jesus maintained that …
  • Jesus’ close friends claimed he taught that …
  • Paul, an early Christian, wrote in a letter to some friends …
  • one first-century witness to the events claimed …
  • an ancient Israeli king said …
  • an ancient Jewish wise man/sage once wrote …
  • etc.
saved, salvation
  • made safe (rescued) from separation from God
hell, damnation
  • separation from God forever
  • a consequence of deciding to reject God – who loves you and wants to be your friend – is having to live apart from him for eternity. That would not be pleasant at all.
sin(s)
  • separation from God
  • alienation from the Creator
  • a condition of being unplugged from God
  • human flaw(s)
  • moral flaw(s)
  • missing the mark of divine perfection
  • Some psychologists would call this separation from God ‘alienation’. The biblical documents refer to it as ‘sin’.
    Note: Using the word ‘sin’ is not always a turnoff, though increasingly in different cultures it can be variously misunderstood as only applying to certain limited behaviours (e.g., sexual, fraudulent, murderous, etc.). But introducing it with some phrasing like the above, and sprinkling such phrases throughout your discussion, can enhance a correct understanding of the concept. You’re not watering down or compromising truth. Rather, you’re seeking to communicate it in terms your audience can understand.
sin nature, depravity
  • fallen nature
  • to use a philosophical term, humans are deeply fallen
man is sinful
  • humans are alienated from the God of the universe by their rebellion
witness, evangelism
  • communicating the basic message of Jesus
pray/prayer
  • talking with/communicating with God
  • expressing your thoughts/views/heart to God

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Posted in: Missional Church