Communication
©istockphoto/firebrandphotography
When CNN posted an article on its Belief Blog asking, “Do you speak Christian?” author John Blake looked into the various phrases that Christians use to describe things, like being “born again,” that may be confusing to those outside the Christian culture. It’s actually a pretty poor article that merely catalogs a bunch of phrases the author seems to find amusing, but it brings up an important point. Are you aware of the words and phrases you are using in your everyday life and how others, especially nonbelievers, perceive them?

This is a debate that goes on in many churches and ministries across the country. Our culture is less Christian and less knowledgeable about Christian ideas than at any point in its history. We can’t assume that our co-workers and neighbors are going to understand a lot of words and phrases that we take for granted, especially those of us who have grown up in the church.

If I tell my co-workers that I have been “saved by grace,” many of them would have no idea what that means. Terms like that are so common to Christians that we don’t even notice when we’re using them. But it is important to be aware; because if we use phrases like that with people who don’t understand, it can be off-putting. It hints to them at a special group—a special language that only insiders understand.

Unfortunately we are not talking about something as tangible or simple as what we had for breakfast. In Christianity God reveals himself to us, and we are dealing with ideas and concepts that aren’t normally discussed at the water cooler. We have to be able to describe these ideas; and so, naturally, we are forced to use words that many people do not use in their everyday lives. The word justification explains a very important, essential Christian idea, but it’s not exactly trending on Twitter right now.

There’s nothing wrong with having words and phrases that explain important concepts, as it allows us to discuss our faith intelligibly. The issue lies in how and when we use these words and how comfortable we get with them. It’s all about knowing your audience.

I remember when I was in college leading a Bible study of mature Christian guys. We were studying Romans and throwing around a lot of these words and phrases because everyone understood them and was comfortable using them. Then in the middle of the semester, one of our members brought a non-Christian friend with him. Immediately we had to change the tone of the study so he wouldn’t feel left out or ignorant. My co-leader and I kept catching ourselves saying things he might not understand. We started re-phrasing. We still studied the same material and discussed the same subjects, but we had to be mindful of our new audience.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was the first Hispanic pastor in history to pray at a presidential inauguration.

    At Trump Inauguration, Charismatic Leaders Pray Boldly in Jesus' Name. Is This Foreshadowing a New Day in America?

    It was an amazing day to let religious freedom ring in America.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what was going on!

    Jennifer LeClaire Releases Urgent Prophetic Warning Over Washington, D.C.

    When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what ...

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Does any of this reflect what's going on in your marriage?

    9 Characteristics of a Healthy Sexual Relationship for a Believer

    A healthy sexual relationship for a Christian couple takes effort, and it's worth working for.

  • Churches don't address this topic affecting women.

    The Secret Sorrow Women Carry

    This woman breaks the silence about a taboo subject to help restore many women.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit