The Linguistic War of Salvation
NCW 69: August 2000 - January 2001
Q. Why do you spend so much time defining words and ideas instead of preaching the simple message of salvation?
A. We do both. All the time. Moreover, in order to preach the message of salvation in a world of doublespeak where language is rapidly degenerating into meaninglessness, we must use time - however tedious for the less studious - to make sure we are communicating the Gospel correctly and precisely.
The great Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-478, BC) understood this problem only too well when he declared: "If Thoughts and Notions are not clarified, Words will not indicate the Right Things. If Words do not indicate the Right Things, then Men cannot succeed in their Tasks, and then Order and Harmony cannot blossom".
You used the word "salvation" in your question. But do you know exactly what this word means? Perhaps you do. However, in asking people of different religions, let alone different Christian denominations, to explain what it means I have invariably received many different and contradictory answers. And many of the answers I get from Christian denominations are but vague concepts with little substance behind them. Ask an active Catholic, Baptist, Mormon and Jehovah's Witness is they are saved and they will all reply "yes". But if you interrogate them further as to what they mean you will be surprised by the variety of answers you will receive.
The fact of the matter is that the biblical concept of "salvation" contains a whole cluster of concepts each of which needs precisely defining. It is not enough to simply say that to be saved a man or woman must simply have "faith in Christ" which, though absolutely true, must also be explained. What is "faith"? Is it passive assent or something more concrete that requires some sort of action or movement on the part of the believer? Is there a difference between "faith", "belief", and "trust"?
Once understood, the plan of salvation is indeed very simple but sometimes (more often than not) we must use some time to explain what are uniquely Christian concepts. The words we use in the Gospel are also used by the secular society and by other religions to mean quite different things, so care is needed. Just the word "love" is a can of worms. To explain what Christian "love" is requires considerable teaching because the word is not used in our language today as it was two centuries or more ago. (Indeed, if we were to define love in terms of the context of modern song lyrics, we might be justified in thinking that its sole content was romance and sex).
Like it or not, Satan has greatly complexified our language. Even the word "Christ" is used in all sorts of different ways. The Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Moonies, Anthroposophists, Theosophists, Hindus, Muslims, New Agers, and others all use "Christ" in quite a different way to the Bible. Even the word "God" means almost anything you wish these days, including yourself. Thus when I few days ago I opened a Turkish translation of the Bible I was horrified to find the word "Allah" instead of the correct biblical Name of Deity, Yahweh. You see, you can't be too careful. (Allah and Yahweh are two entirely different deities). Thus when political leaders say to the nation, "God bless you!" it would be the height of folly that they are necessarily referring to Yahweh-Elohim, the true God and Creator of the Universe.
And so, when someone asks me, "Have you been saved?" I will have a lot more to say than a mere "yes". And if my questioner insists that he has been saved I will carefully interrogate him to find out in who, in what, and how he is exercising his faith.
Finally, let us beware of linguistic mendacity and camouflage, especially when it uses Christian vocabulary to ensnare uninformed people into false religion. We must never forget (though sadly, almost everybody will) the lessons of communism, an ideology of doublespeak which successfully anaesthetised the minds of many gullible westerners and convinced them that communism and democracy - though mutually exclusive systems - could peacefully coexist. In the constant war of words for the minds and hearts of men and women we must be alert to demonic attempts to subvert meaning to such an extent that people no longer use their minds but instead turn to "gut feelings" and "feelings" as barometers of truth. Because the word "Christ", for example, is used by so many religions and sects people have been lulled into the belief that whenever this word is used that there is a common identity of purpose and truth. And such sentiments are going to be exploited to create a One World Antichrist Religion in the future - Antichrist because this "Christ" is a syncretism or hodgepodge of both the true and the false that bears scant resemblance to the true Messiah of Israel, because in the language of this New Age religion, "Christ" is simply the "higher self" of man. In other words, everybody can be "Christ" if they want to because this divinity is supposedly already sitting there within him.
So a New Ager can confidently exclaim, "I believe in salvation through Christ" like an evangelical Christian but he will be meaning something entirely different: the former will be worshipping himself (which is a form of Satanism) and the latter the Incarnate Yahweh-Elohim.
New Covenant Christians will continue spending time defining terms and concepts because we absolutely must. It is a sacred stewardship to ensure that the true Gospel of Yah'shua haMashiach (Jesus Christ) is not compromised or corrupted by alien ideas. Let us remember that in the beginning was the Word, that it was with God (Yahweh), and it was God (Yahweh). We've just got to make sure we define that sacred Word correctly - if we do not, we may be making converts to hell instead of heaven, and woe unto us if we do that!
This page was created on 19 January 2001
Last updated on 19 January 2001
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