Series: Ten Mangled Words

Tolerance (1)

Tolerance (1)

This entry is part 1 of 26 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Words are more than names. Words are things that either correspond to something in reality, or fail to. When words fail to correspond to something true about God’s reality, they become part of the darkening of human understanding. Like a sign pointing the wrong way, like a faulty map, the mangled word gives the human… Continue Reading

Tolerance (2) – We Oppressed Left-Handers

Tolerance (2) – We Oppressed Left-Handers

This entry is part 2 of 26 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

It is becoming abundantly clear to many that the call for tolerance has in fact not been a call to tolerate all opinions everywhere, but to express agreement and endorsement of certain groups and positions. The LGBT community, feminists, non-Christian religions, minorities or previously oppressed ethnicities are usually those said to be suffering from intolerance… Continue Reading

Rehabilitating “Tolerance”

Rehabilitating “Tolerance”

This entry is part 3 of 26 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

How do we rehabilitate this word? First, we must insist that tolerance does not mean agreement, nor does disagreement mean intolerance. Tolerance actually suggests disagreement, for when you agree with someone, you do not merely tolerate him, you agree with him and welcome his opinions. We must patiently explain that disagreement or disapproval of one… Continue Reading

Freedom

Freedom

This entry is part 4 of 26 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Freedom is another word that the disingenuous enjoy. Just as the Tolerazis cry ‘intolerance’ and pose as victims even while they terrorize and bully others, so similar people shout freedom while insisting that others submit to their choices, or at least abdicate legitimate authority over them. Freedom has a nice ring to our ears. Restraint and… Continue Reading

Freedom – Societal and Individual

Freedom – Societal and Individual

This entry is part 5 of 26 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

Freedom and Churches

Freedom and Churches

This entry is part 6 of 26 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

Matters of Conscience and Freedom

Matters of Conscience and Freedom

This entry is part 7 of 26 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

Judging Matters of Freedom

Judging Matters of Freedom

This entry is part 8 of 26 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

Ten Mangled Words – “Authority”

Ten Mangled Words – “Authority”

This entry is part 9 of 26 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

Authority – Its Origin

Authority – Its Origin

This entry is part 10 of 26 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

Authority and Authoritarianism

Authority and Authoritarianism

This entry is part 11 of 26 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

Who Made You the Authority?

Who Made You the Authority?

This entry is part 12 of 26 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

Identifying Authorities

Identifying Authorities

This entry is part 13 of 26 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

You Elitist, You

You Elitist, You

This entry is part 14 of 26 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

Authority, Soul Competence and Vocation

Authority, Soul Competence and Vocation

This entry is part 15 of 26 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

Christians and Critical Judgments

Christians and Critical Judgments

This entry is part 16 of 26 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

Ten Mangled Words – “Authentic”

Ten Mangled Words – “Authentic”

This entry is part 17 of 26 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

Sincerely Amused

Sincerely Amused

This entry is part 18 of 26 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

What Titus Found in the Most Holy

What Titus Found in the Most Holy

This entry is part 19 of 26 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

Sincerity and Profanity

Sincerity and Profanity

This entry is part 20 of 26 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