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Learning to Speak Like a Christian: 40 Examples of Christianese


1. “Heads bowed, eyes closed . . .”: During a church service, you may hear a preacher abruptly break into this unexpected dialogue with the audience: “Heads bowed, eyes closed. If you have accepted Christ into your heart [more later], I want you to raise your hand.” Don’t get scared. Nothing bad is going to happen to you. It is not a fancy way to steal your money or pull anything sneaky. It is the preacher’s way of helping the uncomfortable seeker feel more at ease about accepting Christ. It is best if you just follow instructions here.

2. “Into the Word”: This is a portion of an important phrase that may be communicated by seasoned Christians in many different contexts. It always has reference to the Bible. Yes, I know, the Bible is more than one word, in fact it is thousands, but once you are a Christian, it becomes singular and has a definite article, “the,” attached to it. If you hear someone say, “Are you in the Word?,” this is another way of saying, “You need to read the Bible if you are going to be spiritual like me.” IMPORTANT: This has no relation to the phrases, “Word to your mother,” “Word up,” or just plain “Word.”

3. Backslidden: This has no reference to the past event of sliding down a hill on your back. It is used to refer to those Christians who are now suspect in their original confession due to their current participation in a particular sin.

4. “Ask Jesus into your heart”: Although there is nowhere in Scripture that people are commanded to ask Jesus into their heart, this has become the primary means by which Evangelicals believe a person becomes a Christian. Don’t be scared here. Heart surgery, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular exercise (or lack thereof) have no bearing on Christ’s presence in your heart. He does not actually live there.

5. Soul Winning: Please understand, this  is not a game. It is the act whereby one person tells another about Christ and the person believes, thereby having their souls “saved” (i.e. “won”). I know that normally if there are winners, you would think there are losers, but not in Soul Winning. Everyone wins in this game (except the lost).

6. “I see that hand . . .”: This is related to #1. The pastor has just asked for raised hands while everyone’s heads are bowed and eyes closed. “I see that hand” can mean one of two things: 1) Someone is indicating that they have accepted Jesus by raising their hand. 2) The pastor is acting like someone has to be more heroic and finance the new building. VERY IMPORTANT: Avoid any temptation to look for the hand when the pastor says “I see that hand.” Although science is inconclusive, we are not sure if you looking for the hand raised has any bearing on the effectiveness of the salvation process. It is best to be safe and avoid giving in to this temptation. To be very spiritual, just thank the Lord for that person and pray that they become a Calvinist.

7. Contemporary Christian Music: Avoid at all costs. Yes, many of your Christian friends will act as if they like it. Musicians, sociologists, and psychologists are perplexed as to the reasons why. We believe it is due to the pressured environment of the Christian community for Christians to do all things Christian, but this has no bearing on your salvation. Please, don’t feel pressure to like it.

8. Christian Movies: See “Contemporary Christian Music.”

9. Baptism: The spiritual act of going under water. Yeah, I know, most people don’t understand it, but you must do it anyway. Oh, also, someone else has to push, drop, or lower you; otherwise, it is ineffective.

10. “Blessed”: This word must take the place of many words, but the most important replacement is with the word “luck.” Super-spiritual Christians (SSC) will often be offended and pugnaciously correct you if you ever say, “Good luck.” Even if you are just using it as a casual phrase with the best of intentions, the SSC will see it as an opportunity to correct you and show you how Christian they are compared to you by saying “I don’t believe in luck, only God’s blessings.” When you have someone correct you, its best to just act as if you have learned something and then be on your way. Continue Reading →

The Problem with “Bully Bob”

BullyBobSeveral months ago the NY Times ran an article entitled “Publishers Revel in Youthful Cruelty,” describing how the topic of bullying has ignited a book bonanza on the subject over the last few years. This probably isn’t news to anyone since the ubiquitous nature of the subject is evident way outside of old fashioned print media. Many are the awareness campaigns about bullying, ads with celebrities, special emphases within the schools, anti-bullying surveys and petitions across social media, etc.

Bullying applies to every kind of potential victim: the overweight, the mentally challenged, the religious minority, the socially awkward. Frequently it is associated particularly with the gay issue. Bullying is no longer the straightforward thing we once took it to be. Now it can be subtle, nonphysical, a particular feeling one gets from another person. And of course there is cyber-bullying, a word nobody would have understood in my school days.

I will admit readily that anytime something like this leaps out of obscurity and onto the radar of political correctness, my knee-jerk reaction is negative. I can’t help it. I have such little faith in and respect  for contemporary popular culture that I just assume that whatever captivates all of its attention at the present moment is probably idiotic. But that’s not really fair, so I have to back off and take a closer look sometimes. And even though the issue of bullying has popped up like a trendy ‘cause of the month’, if I think about the issue for what it is, disregarding some of the silliness that is currently written about it, I can’t deny that it is an important subject.

Bullying is necessarily a moral issue, since the word itself, like “murder” or “rape,” is morally slanted. It isn’t a neutral word. It is implied that you are doing something wrong if you are bullying. And as with any moral discussion, we have to make judgments about things that are right and things that are wrong. My specific interest here is not with bullying in the schoolyard but with bullies in the contemporary public discourse. These are the forceful voices who come strong with their opinions and use illegitimate bully-style tactics in order to twist the philosophical arms of people into agreeing with them (or at least into saying that they agree with them). My contention is that this kind of “Bully Bob” is problematic and needs to be confronted.

Bully Bob is a Big Talker

The first problem with the kinds of bullies I’m talking about is of a verbal nature. The general rule is that the bully in the yard with the biggest mouth is likely to cower the first time he’s confronted by someone whose toughness is more than talk. That’s why, when Wyatt Earp looked over & saw ‘Bully’ Bob Thornton as the belligerent Faro dealer bossing people around & doling out the threats (after having abused the regular customers and chased off all the high class play, according the bartender), Earp saw right through Bully Bob & realized immediately that he didn’t need to “go heeled to get the bulge on a tub” like him. A  typical loudmouth, this bully – a “madcap” identified as “Johnny Tyler” by Doc Holliday (and based on a historical figure)- was all noise, too cowardly to “skin that smokewagon and see what happens” when stood up to by a confident and unarmed stranger.

If you don’t get the above reference, never mind the specific names & quotes (but seriously, how can you call yourself an American?). The point is that when someone talks too big a game it is an indicator of the high likelihood that the situation is exactly the opposite. And the odds continue moving in that direction with every additional bit of verbal abuse he adds to his swagger. When I hear someone using verbal and ideological bully tactics in a modern day debate, it automatically weakens that person’s position for me. I hear weakness masked by the noise of a bully megaphone.

And while the big talkers who bring the noise can be intimidating, a certain calm confidence on the part of someone who questions the verbal bully can cut right through his bluster. The worst thing you can do in response to his or her noise is to play the same game and try to talk more trash and louder. The best thing you can do is to ignore the petty stuff and go right to the heart of the person’s point of view. Ask her pointed and penetrating questions that require her to articulate and defend the view she is trying to bully people into accepting. It is sometimes surprising how quickly someone who seemed so sure of herself will back off once critical questions are put to her.

Continue Reading →

Famous Bible Translation Mistakes Throughout History

Here are some of the more infamous and fun mistakes that translators and printers have made throughout the years.

“Wife-Beaters’ Bible” (Matthew’s Bible, 1537):
A footnote to I Peter 3:7 is rendered “And if she be not obedient and healpeful unto him, endevoureth to beat the fear of God into her head, that thereby she may be compelled to learn her duty and do it.” I tried this with my wife. Let’s just say that footnotes are not inspired.

“Place-makers’ Bible” (Geneva, 1562):
In the second edition of the Geneva Bible, Matthew 5:9 reads “Blessed are the placemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”. The correct translation is peacemakers. My mother used to quote this every time she would make me set the table. Curse you mom!!

“Printers’ Bible” (KJV, 1612):
Psalm 119:161 reads “Printers have persecuted me without a cause” rather than “Princes.”

“Adulterers’ Bible” (KJV, 1631):
The word “not” is missing from the seventh commandment in Exodus 20:14, rendering it “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The printers were fined £300 and most of the copies were recalled immediately. Only 11 copies are known to exist today. (Also called the “Wicked Bible”.)

“Unrighteous Bible” (KJV, 1653; Cambridge Press):
I Corinthians 6:9 lacks the word “not” and reads “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?”

“Sinners Bible” or the “Sin On Bible” (KJV, 1716):
John 8:11 reads “Go and sin on more” rather than “Go and sin no more”.

“Fools’ Bible” or “The Fools Bible” (KJV, 1763):
Psalm 14:1 reads “the fool hath said in his heart there is a God”, rather than “…there is no God”. The printers were fined £3,000 and all copies ordered destroyed.

“The Large Family Bible” (KJV, 1820):
Isaiah 66:9 reads: “Shall I bring to birth and not cease to bring forth?” rather than “Shall I bring to birth and not cause to bring forth?”. (I suppose this could also be called the “Catholics’ Bible” :) )

And my favorite . . .

“Prostitutes Bible” (NET, 2001):
Proverbs 2:16 reads “To deliver you from the adulteress, from the sexually loose woman who speaks flattering words.” In the first printing of the New English Translation, there is a footnote at the end of this verse with a 1-800 number. The translator was writing the notes for this verse on his computer when he got a call and, not finding a pen, typed the call-back number in these notes. He forgot to delete them.

An Open Letter to Homo sapiens

Dear Homo sapiens,

This has been a rather unfortunate week for you. Since the world’s attention will turn to London next week with the Summer Olympics, I decided a voice must speak up to make next week more civilized.

A vile disease spread through your species this week. I don’t see it as frequently as in prior times and prior places but for some reason it struck twice this week. Please heed immediate caution. If you desire the Olympic games to go smoothly, do your best to eradicate the spread of this disease. If honesty continues to spread there will be no limit to its brutality.

It was brought to the attention of humankind, this week, that Dan Cathy is pro-family. The president of Chick-Fil-A opened his hate-filled mouth stating, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Unbelievable. Unconscionable. Who knew Chick-Fil-A was a Christian organization? Sure, they’ve always been closed on Sunday but wasn’t that because they are backwoods NFL and NASCAR fans? It turns out they are closed on Sundays to allow employees to go to church, be with their families, and observe the Sabbath. Cathy further added insult to injury stating God may know best how a family should operate. Can you believe a Christian would make such a ridiculous statement?

Where will this end? Will Atheists start telling people there is no God? Will my mortgage company tell me what I owe them? Will Apple store employees start making fun of Microsoft? If a Christian will honestly communicate orthodox Christian ideas, will honesty ever stop infecting Homo sapiens? We need to stop the madness. For the sake of humanity.

If one encounter with honesty was enough to ruin the week for the species, a second encounter hit the planet. An epidemic may be on the horizon. An NBC reporter asked Mitt Romney whether London was ready for the Olympic games. Romney questioned the readiness of London to host the games. Thankfully the British press quickly sought to eradicate this honesty coming from the lips of Romney.

Continue Reading →

World’s Manliest Theologian

Seeing as how Oklahoma City was just voted the manliest city, I thought I would begin to explore what makes the manliest theologian. Here are some criteria:

1. Must be a man. Sorry ladies. There is a petition out there to lift this criteria and redefine the basic DNA of manliness, but the overwhelming support of the population still believes that there are tangible sine qua nons of what it means to be a man.

2. Takes a stand on controversial theological issues such as hell, predestination, and inerrancy. +1 per issue

3. Has watched The Hunt for Red October. +1 (increase by 1 up to 4 for each time watched)

4. Johnny Depp is favorite actor. -4

5. Uses Bibleworks. +3

6. Is married. +5

7. Has been married over 20 years. +5 more

8. Has more than one wife. -10

9. Has listened to John Piper’s “Doing Missions when Dying is Gain”. +4

10. Dan Wallace is favorite exegete. +5

11. Rob Bell is favorite exegete. -10

12. Is a Calvinist. (one point for every point of Calvinism up to 5)

13. Is a Complementarian. +4

14. Lives in Oklahoma City (America’s manliest city). +5

15. Lives in San Deigo (America’s least manliest city). -5

16. Smokes cigars. +3

17. Smokes dope. Disqualified

18. Has been secure enough to change his position on at least one theological issue in the last three years. +5

19. Changes his position every year. -10

20. Drives a pick-up. +5

21. Drives a Nissan Leaf. -5

21. Drinks Dos Equis. +2

22. Drinks too much Dos Equis. Disqualified

23. Believes in just-war theory. +5

24. Is a pacifist. -2

25. Lives in fear of no man. +3

26. Lives in fear of God. +10

27. Lives in fear of his wife. +11

28. Drinks coffee. +3

29. Drinks cappuccinos. 0

30. Drinks frappuccinos. -3

31. Drinks anything at the Credo House. +10

And the winner is…?

12 Ways to Guarantee You’ll Never Be Called a “Fundy”

By Carrie Hunter

We Evangelicals have a reputation to uphold. We cannot, under any circumstance, be confused with Them. Them of course being those crazy, unsophisticated, hard-line, uncharitable, literalistic, mean-spirited, dogmatic, absolute-certaintypossessing, Fundamentalists.

So in order to avoid being even remotely confused with Them, here is a helpful checklist you should keep on hand at all times. Seriously, print it out, fold it up and store it safely away in your purse or wallet. Reference it whenever you begin to discuss theology, or the Bible with a fellow believer, or even with the lost.

Using these 12 helpful hints should prevent you from being thought a Fundy.
Continue Reading →

12 Ways to Guarantee You’ll Never Be Called “Liberal”

(Lisa Robinson)

Well, its happened again, rumors of liberalism infiltrating the church.  This is bad, very bad and nothing to be remotely associated with.  It is a sure sign that you have one foot out the door of orthodoxy and will soon abandon the tenets of the faith.  So I’ve come up with a list of sure-fire ways you can stay as far away from a liberal classification as possible and avoid any slippery slopes.

1)   Never question the parameters of inerrancy.  You may have tons of questions related to perceived gaps but it is best to keep that to yourself.  Raising questions will definitely raise eyebrows.

2)   Never refer to the entirety of God’s word as “narrative” regardless of how much you want to show the grand story that sweeps across all 66 books.  It’s probably wise not to use the word “story”.

3)   Never place an adjective with the word “hermeneutics”, unless it’s “Evangelical”

4)   Don’t cite sources from those marked as even possibly liberal, unless its to levy criticisms at their disastrous consequences.  Neither say anything nice about their books or blogs.  It does not matter if they actually have something valuable to contribute.  Any alliance will make you guilty by association.

5)   Don’t capitulate to the culture through means that might actually connect with people where they are.  They need to know the word of God.  Period.

6)   Never use the word “culture”, unless it is something you are against.

7)   Make sure that when an evangelical figure is publicly chastised for maybe possibly going down a slippery slope (possibly because they used the aforementioned words), that you quickly hop on the band wagon.  Don’t bother with actual facts or taking time to do some evaluation.  Hesitation will only raise suspicion.

8.)   Never question the validity of women’s participation in leadership or contribution to the body at large.  That is a sure sign to show you are headed down a slippery slope and destroying inerrancy.  They should know their place anyway.

9)   Don’t support a church catering to seekers (see also #s 5 and 7).  They can find their way with a good sermon.

10)  Don’t contaminate evangelism with “good works” or anything remotely associated with meeting tangible needs.   The four spiritual laws is all anyone needs and “good works” is something liberals do.

11)  The only “mission” you should be on is stocking your library with MacArthur resources and warning others against liberal infiltration.

12)  Never, ever use the word “emerging” in any context.

Well folks, I hope this helps.  Follow these 12 easy steps and it will keep you firmly planted from rolling down any slippery slopes so that no one can ever accuse you of being liberal.