Chaplain Bill on Apologetics & Theological Jargon.

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This is Chaplain Bill’s space where he is able to articulate his views on theological, biblical, and philosophical matters. Chaplain Bill has also recently published his own book, Blue-Collar Believer, available in hard copy or for eBook purchase. Also visit his blogsite. The views expressed by Chaplain Bill, and other co-writers, are not necessarily the views of website owner, James Bishop.

Greetings!  I hope everyone is doing well.  I love to read, as I am sure many of you who are reading this do too.  I have read many books and am currently reading “Conversational Evangelism” written by Dr. Norman Geisler and his son Dr. David Geisler.  I met them both personally at the 2016 National Conference on Christian Apologetics hosted by Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) and Bible college in North Carolina a couple of weeks back.

To tell you the truth, I was pretty “star struck” when I met Dr. Norman Geisler!  I have admired his work for many years and he has contributed so much to the Christian world and apologetics as a whole.  It is just awesome to see his son follow in his footsteps. I can only hope for the same for my children. To find out more about their ministry and “Conversational Evangelism” you can check out their website, as well as purchase their book.

The Foreword was beautifully written by Ravi Zacharias.  Whether you are a believer or not, we all know who Ravi is. As I heard Frank Turek comically say at the Apologetics Seminar:
“Everyone reads Ravi Zacharias books; even God.” That comment was not intended to cause controversy, but just to produce a good hearted chuckle, because Ravi is such an intelligent and articulate philosopher. In the forward Ravi is writing about 1 Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

As Ravi writes, “As followers of Jesus, not only do we claim the truth of a supernatural transformation, we must remind ourselves that defending the faith we believe also calls upon us to live the faith we defend.” He continues, “Notice that before one is qualified to give an answer, there is a prerequisite.  The Lordship of Christ over the life of His follower is foundational to all answers given.”

Part of being a successful and fruitful Christian is fulfilling this call.  It is not just “some” answers, but ALL answers, whether they are apologetics or pastoral related, we must “be ready always to give an answer.”

This “supernatural transformation” should give us a spiritually minded heart and attitude 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Whether we are prepared to defend the faith (apologetics) or an opportunity to encourage and edify a brother and sister in the faith (pastoral), we must “always be ready.”

The book brings up some excellent points so far, but there are other occurrences that may cloud issues in conversations that I have experienced that make conversations difficult without even knowing it.  What made me think about this in writing this short article was an instance over the past weekend, when I took my seven year old daughter to her weekly gymnastics practice. After we were finished, we were walking out to our car, and following a crowd of people who were leaving too. I was not being “nosy,” but could not help but overhear a conversation with a mother and her seven year old daughter in front of us.

They were discussing a football event that they were going to later on in the day.  The mother was telling her that they were going to stay for a “majority” of the game to watch her brother, but then leave. The little girl looked so confused, as she looked up to her mom with a very strange look on her face. Her mom then said, “Bulk, honey. Bulk.” Then she continued talking about where they were going when they left the game.

The little girl appeared to be still confused.  She did not know what “majority” or “bulk” meant, because there was no clarification given to her by her mother. Her mother automatically “assumed” that she clarified what “majority” meant, but the little girl did not know what “bulk” meant either.

I think we can learn a lot from this discussion.  How many times have we spoke with an unbeliever and automatically assumed they knew what we were talking about? Sometimes we tend to use Christian “jargon” and words slip by in conversations and the person we are talking to does not get what we are saying.  If you are not familiar with the word “jargon,” the free dictionary defines is, albeit briefly, as a “specialized language,” “uncommon”and “convoluted.”

When Christians use terminology like:  atonement, backslide, born again, conversion, conviction, elect, justification, and sanctification, just to name a few, it is a bit confusing for someone who does not understand what these words mean. But then we also have problems with Jehovah’s Witness as well as Mormons because as Christians, we tend to use the same words as they do, but we all have entirely different meanings even with simple and direct words such as “Jesus.”

If you are not well acquainted with Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness theology, a Christian could have a great conversation with one or the other about Jesus, but then never really know “who” the Jesus is that they are talking about. For instance, a Mormon would argue that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both. A Jehovah’s Witness would argue that Jesus is actually the incarnation of Michael the Arch angel.

However, a Protestant or Roman Catholic would never succumb to two absurd ideas like this.  Not that this is the time to write about “who Jesus is,” the point is that when we are in conversation with others, we really need to listen, ask questions, define terms that we mean, and ask the person we are speaking with to do the same. Not only will this help with a more productive conversation, it really lets the person know that you are interested in what they have to say, and that you truly care.

Have you had any instances whether you, as a believer or unbeliever, have walked away from a spiritual conversation very confused and unsure of what the conversation was really about because of lack of clarification and definition of words? If you have please share them here bellow.

Until next time,
Chaplain’s Corner
William H Schnakenberg IV

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