Christians say the darnedest things.

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.

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16 Comments

Filed under Ecclesiology, Personal

16 responses to “Christians say the darnedest things.

  1. I love this! Amen.

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  2. Donnie

    But how do we know then if we’re really saved? I believe in the idea of “once saved always saved” and that it all begins with faith in Christ to purge us of our sins.

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  3. andrewcenci

    Good thoughts. Thanks!

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  4. Porsche'

    wow!!! this was amazing!!! i totally needed this!!

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  5. Andrew Moorehead

    “God’s been calling me to…” comment on this blog, “He’s really layed it on my heart…” that I need to tell you that you’re bothering a lot of people.

    Those two are basically the same thing, and people use them all the time to try to get away with doing things that are wrong.

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    • John MacArthur talks about attributing to God things He did not say. It’s a great sermon, if you can find it. I cannot for the life of me remember what it’s called.

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  6. “We cannot afford to trade cheap emotionalism for true religious experience”
    YES! I love that line.

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  7. Hannah

    So true, and then when people who don’t know anything about the Bible or Christ hear us saying these things. It just weirds them out and they feel like they have no idea what’s going on.
    And I liked the “beginning of sanctification” part, I had never thought of it that way, but you are right. Christ did it all for us, we didn’t do anything.
    Thank you 🙂

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  8. Bethany

    For some reason, I can’t stand when people talk about “doing life together”. What does that even mean?

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  9. Living he loved me, dying he saved me <– do we know this song? I'm not saying we should go by the words off a songwriter I am just saying that it is true that we were saved while he was dying. The closer to death he became the more saved our souls became

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  10. Tiffany Moore

    Romans 10:9 says that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. This leads me to believe that it IS, in fact, the point when a person accepts/confesses Christ that they are getting the promise that they WILL be saved (come judgment) from damnation. Our salvation was purchased when he died but we didn’t all accept it. Comments?

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    • This presupposes a very Arminian soteriology. I don’t happen to agree with it. For instance, Christ chose us, we didn’t happen to choose Him. That being said, I do believe that sanctification begins at justification, when we begin to submit ourselves to the Spirit, and so yes there is a point at which we fulfilled whatever response we are responsible for, and I know that people call that getting saved. However I think the whole language of “getting saved” lends itself to a semi-pelagian idea that we’re somehow contributing something to our salvation; or rather, to a more anthropocentric view of salvation in which our response supersedes God’s effective work. I just want people to think through some of the things we say in Church. Thank you for the feedback!

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      • Andrew Moorehead

        Thanks for all the big words. Next time, explain it so that non-“theologians” can understand, please. (soteriology, pelagian, anthropocentric).

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  11. Stephen

    You said, “If your congregation is alive and unbroken, then they have probably not been in the presence of God.”

    LOVE IT!!! Great word!!

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