Relevant magazine recently published a list of 20 strange examples of Christian-speak — Christian phrases you typically only hear inside a church — that leaves some people scratching their heads.
If you’ll give me a moment, I’d like to “pour into you” a bit of wisdom on “Christian-speak.” That’s my term for the Christian phrases on this list from Relevant magazine.
I don’t intend to beat you up about it: I want to “love on you” for a few moments while we discuss this topic that I hope at least a few of you might be “convicted” about.
Some of the listings in Relevant’s article are quite entertaining. Take the one about the phrase, “God has you right where He wants you” asking if it means God is “a Bond villain.”
But some of the other phrases are somewhat questionable.
There’s the “pour into you” and “love on you” examples I mentioned above. There are also phrases like, “being drunk in the Spirit” and “winning souls.”
That last one is a particularly annoying one because it puts the focus (and the praise) on the person who helped lead a person to Christ rather than Christ Himself. Even when we say, “He won a soul for Christ,” it’s still — to a point — about us, not about Him. If I’ve ever said anything or done anything that helped lead a person to decide to accept Christ, I’m certainly happy to have played a role in it. But I didn’t “win” anything. The person who made the life-changing decision is the winner. And if I happened to play a role in it, that may well only be because I just happened to be at the right place at the right time; it could just have easily been anyone else besides me if it happened at any other moment.
But bigger than this squabble with a single phrase is the way all of these phrases are most often used: it always has to be a church context, either in church or outside of church, but often only around other Christians as if there’s some “secret code” that only those “in the club” get to use.
If we’re going to act that way, we’re getting it wrong in a spectacular way.
Christianity isn’t a club. It isn’t only for special “members.” It’s for everyone. We’re called to make everyone understand how valued they are by God. When we speak as if there’s a “code” we all have to know, we’re not being inclusive: we’re behaving as if there’s an exclusivity that shuts out everyone else right from the start.
And if we’re talking one way in a “Christian” setting and another way in a more “secular” setting, we’re betraying our own belief system by acting as if God isn’t everywhere and all-knowing, as if when we speak “normally,” God isn’t really listening to what we’re saying.
I’ve seen it ever since I was a kid.
Guys who’d speak one way — the way you’d speak with friends around a dinner table — until they had an opportunity to pray, and then they’d flip some invisible switch and the lofty Christian phrases just come “pouring out.”
Do we really think we’re fooling God with this stuff?
Why can’t we speak the same way all the time? Why do we feel the need to change our speaking style? Sure, it’s largely a learned behavior from what we’ve seen others do in church.
But that doesn’t automatically make it right, does it?
If we’re putting on a show around other Christians so we can sound more Christian, at some point, we need to ask ourselves how “Christian” we really are?