Church vocabulary weirds me out. I was in the middle of the following sentence when I realized just how unintelligible church language can be.
“When did you get saved?”
Think about that question for a minute or two. When did you get saved? You’re probably thinking “well let’s see… I prayed the sinners prayer when I was what… 6? Let me find my Bible, I wrote it down on the ‘My Spiritual Birthday’ page at the front.” How many of you have one of those, show of hands?
Here’s the problem with that question: The day you started professing Jesus Christ as your savior isn’t the day you got saved. If it was, you would have been saved through some work of your own. Your profession didn’t add anything to your salvation, it simply marked the beginning of your sanctification. Your salvation was won for you on the Cross — when Jesus said it was finished, He meant it.
And here’s another problem with that question: If everyone who professed Christ was saved, then we wouldn’t have Matthew 7:21. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.” We give people a false sense of security — probably because that’s what people are looking for — when we tell them “say a prayer to get saved.” It’s a magic spell that can be used as a fire-escape; we get to call a favor in from Jesus when we really need one, never mind all that nonsense He said about loving God and other people I just need Him to do something for me really quick (hey thanks cosmic boy-toy!).
Here’s another awkward phrase: “Man the presence was really in the house this morning.” Really? Did the foundation of your church shake? Were people hurling themselves face to the ground in repentance, and crying out for mercy? No, the mix was just really good and the guitarist’s new delay pedal was nice sounding and the smoke machine made everyone a little light-headed. Read the Bible and tell me where the presence and Spirit of God truly fall without conviction of sin and repentance. We cannot afford to trade cheap emotionalism for true religious experience. If your congregation is alive and unbroken, then they have probably not been in the presence of God.
That last point is going to be very unpopular with a lot of people, so if your initial reaction was one of hostility, go read what I said again. Compare it to scripture. Pray. Wrestle. Do more than just react against an attack on cherished assumptions.
I could go on for a very long time, but I’m going to turn it over to you guys: Got a Churchism that’s been bothering you? Share it in the comments! I’d love to hear what you think.