Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One of the problems with contemporary dialogue about Christianity is the difficulty with terms. It has always been a problem, but it seems much worse lately. Here are a couple of issues.
  • There is often a spectrum of beliefs that uses the same title. Fundamentalists shade from the wacko, KJV-Only, to those essentially indistinguishable from those called Evangelicals. Evangelicals range from those like the Fundamentalists to those who barely hold to the essentials of the Evangel. The Charismatic title includes some who just want to worship in a free-er style to those who hold views that historic Christianity regards as heretical. ETC. etc.

  • Those who use a term as an insult will often focus on the worst, while those who defend a particular group will choose its best exemplars.

  • Some people who use a label, use it because they associate with only a part of the Theology that marks that group. Those who are critical may be criticizing a portion of the system that a particular individual not only doesn't hold, but of which he is unaware.

  • Then there is deliberate distortion, in both directions--maybe more.
John Piper recently posted a thought. Rather than say I am a _______, why not say this is what I believe. You tell me what I am. It is a little unwieldy but what we have is a mess.

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