Author Archives: David de Bruyn

As Real As I Feel

As Real As I Feel

This entry is part 21 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

An assumption of a generation intoxicated with authenticity is the notion that feelings don’t lie. Given their spontaneous and often uncontrollable nature, emotions are seen as the inevitable and unstoppable eruptions of the heart. Breaking through the surface layer of ‘masks’, ‘forms’, or some other supposed act of evading one’s inner truth, emotions represent pure,… Continue Reading

Sincerity and Profanity

Sincerity and Profanity

This entry is part 20 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Many pastors and Christian leaders believe they are purifying Christianity and worship when they remove any kind of formality from corporate worship. Formal dress, an exalted tone in prayer, or reverent music are eschewed for a more casual and informal approach. They appear to believe that retaining forms that are not immediately recognizable or penetrable… Continue Reading

The Colloquial, the Casual, and the Crafted

The Colloquial, the Casual, and the Crafted

Those who call for ‘authenticity’, ‘realness’, and ‘sincerity’, are not always sure what they mean, if you press them for a definition. Some mean honesty, some others mean integrity, both of which are virtues the Bible commends and commands. But some of those calling for authenticity are really calling for a removal of formality from… Continue Reading

What Titus Found in the Most Holy

What Titus Found in the Most Holy

This entry is part 19 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When Titus attacked Jerusalem in 66-70 A.D., before ordering its destruction, Titus entered the Most Holy Place to see for himself what was really hidden behind that veil. He found, to his dismay, nothing, besides the Mercy Seat. There was “nothing there”. Titus is like many modern Christians, intoxicated with the idea of ‘sincerity’, ‘authenticity’,… Continue Reading

Sincerely Amused

Sincerely Amused

This entry is part 18 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

It’s a supreme irony, or perhaps a sad blindness, that the present generation is supposedly in love with ‘authenticity’, ‘sincerity’, and ‘keeping it real’. After all, we’ve been doing everything but that for nearly a century. As Neil Postman pointed out in Amusing Ourselves to Death, we took a medium designed for amusing spectacle – theatre… Continue Reading

When Catholics Get It Right

When Catholics Get It Right

It’s not only Fundamentalist Baptists who are pointing out the problems with using pop music for worship. You don’t have to agree with his strident Romanism to concede the points he makes about culture and music. Is There a Proper Role for “Contemporary” Music at Church? Continue Reading

Ten Mangled Words – “Authentic”

Ten Mangled Words – “Authentic”

This entry is part 17 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Few words roll off the modern tongue as readily or as frequently as the family of words associated with authentic. Authenticity, real, sincere and intentional are like newly-minted gold for the Millennial tongue. Most previous generations of humans would have looked at you with furrowed eyebrows and pained expressions of confusion, had you greeted them with the line, “Keep it… Continue Reading

Christians and Critical Judgments

Christians and Critical Judgments

This entry is part 16 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Most Christians are happy to accept the authority of expert opinion. What is instructive to note is which domains of knowledge they are comfortable to refer to experts, as opposed to those in which they actively oppose expert opinion. To paraphrase what I wrote to one commenter, Christians are happy to listen to experts when… Continue Reading

Authority, Soul Competence and Vocation

Authority, Soul Competence and Vocation

This entry is part 15 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Soul competence and the priesthood of the believer are two sides of one doctrine that Baptists cherish. Indeed, they make up part of the matrix known as the Baptist distinctives. Soul competence teaches that individual Spirit-indwelt believers can read and understand Scripture for themselves, using the means He has given. The priesthood of the believer… Continue Reading

You Elitist, You

You Elitist, You

This entry is part 14 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Since this series has dealt with “mangled” words such as tolerance, freedom, and authority, I was tempted to include elitism among them. Elitism, though, is really a misused word inseparable from the word authority. When the meaning of authority is mangled, be sure that a sorely maimed and deformed version of the meaning of elitism… Continue Reading

Identifying Authorities

Identifying Authorities

This entry is part 13 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Within the avalanche of information coming at us, how do we identify true authorities in any domain of knowledge? How do we judge the anonymous Youtube channel, the self-proclaimed discernment ministry, the mega-church pastor, or the well-known author? We need something more than merely an intuitive feeling that a person ‘makes sense’, or ‘seems to… Continue Reading

Who Made You the Authority?

Who Made You the Authority?

This entry is part 12 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The explosion of information on the web has made the idea of authoritative information almost a thing of the past. A CGI-Enhanced Youtube video about the non-existence of the South Pole is as accessible as the online Encyclopedia Brittanica’s information on Antarctica. The crowd-edited Wikipedia is found as easily (or more so) than a peer-reviewed journal.… Continue Reading

Authority and Authoritarianism

Authority and Authoritarianism

This entry is part 11 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When authority is usually discussed, about three sentences later, the word authoritarian will make its entrance. In fact, for some, authority is authoritarian – there is no other kind. Recovering the mangled word authority from all the thought-debris that has been hurled at it requires distinguishing it from authoritarianism. I’m not sure whether dictionaries help or… Continue Reading

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

When the topic of music and worship comes up, a favorite slap-down argument against thoughtful discrimination of music is that pastors need not study music to be faithful pastors. It is beside the point to say that pastors need not become art critics. If their vocation is that of shepherding the flock, it is manifestly… Continue Reading

Authority – Its Origin

Authority – Its Origin

This entry is part 10 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The English words authority and author come from the same Latin root, auctor – an originator. Strange how far we’ve come from older ideas, where the concept of authority was connected with authoring, creating, and making. Today, authorities are guilty until proven innocent of being destroyers. English etymology aside, Scripture, in its first chapter,  makes… Continue Reading

Ten Mangled Words – “Authority”

Ten Mangled Words – “Authority”

This entry is part 9 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The popular consciousness has knee-jerk reflexes when it comes to authority. Play the word-association game with the average person, show him the flash-card “Authority” and ask him to blurt out the first word that comes to mind. I’ll wager that if you repeat the experiment across thousands of subjects, you’ll have a top-ten list pretty… Continue Reading

Judging Matters of Freedom

Judging Matters of Freedom

This entry is part 8 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Modern Christians are in the habit of labelling all sorts of things as ‘matters of Christian liberty’ or ‘areas of preference’. We do not doubt that these adiaphora (“indifferent things”) exist; Scripture explicitly deals with them in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8-10. The question is, how do we identify them? Genuine adiaphora can be… Continue Reading

Matters of Conscience and Freedom

Matters of Conscience and Freedom

This entry is part 7 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Scripture devotes two sections of the New Testament to explain how certain choices in the Christian life are not explicitly or implicitly forbidden or prescribed: explicitly by commands or prohibitions, or implicitly by a very clear application of general Scriptural principles. These two sections are Romans 14, and 1 Corinthians 8 to 10. Here we… Continue Reading

Freedom and Churches

Freedom and Churches

This entry is part 6 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A church is a voluntary society. Baptists believe that people join churches not by birth but by choice. People freely associate, and can freely disassociate. Voluntary societies cannot use force or coercion on their members; they can only persuade. Having said that, a number of things need to be said to overturn the muddled thinking… Continue Reading

Freedom – Societal and Individual

Freedom – Societal and Individual

This entry is part 5 of 36 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Liberty is the absence of unwarranted coercion, leaving the human open to persuasion and his own agency to choose what he ought. Freedom does not, and never can, mean an unlimited amount of choices. The freedom of a man should be limited in two ways. Externally, he is not free to harm the common good,… Continue Reading