3rd September 2012

Getting In The Way

“If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?”
1 Corinthians 14:8 (NKJV)

I’ve been shouting at the television again. It’s not ‘compared to’, it’s ‘compared with’. It’s not a ‘train station’, it’s a ‘railway station’! And yes, I know that language moves on; I embrace many such changes myself. Not concerti, but concertos; and many other common expression that would have had my old English master spinning in his grave.

It’s all changed today, too, as to how English is taught. Don’t worry about spelling, syntax, punctuation, agreement of verbs, correct construction of a sentence—just express yourself. Well, excuse me, if you are not given the tools which permit a precise expression, how can you accurately convey what is in your mind clearly into the mind of another? In other words, our poor teaching of English in schools hampers the dissemination of right knowledge, including that of the Gospel! Our poor teaching of Christianity today, usually more a comparative study of various religions, also gets in the way of accurately bringing the young eventually to Christ.

Our society is erecting more and more barriers to the Christian way of life because (1) it isn’t accurately understood, (2) it is actively misunderstood and despised because of misunderstanding, (3) in the detail it can often go contrary to the mean (meaning the lowest common dominator) which is considered the best way for the young to be taught about any religion. If we teach children to value all religions equally, is the thinking, then there will be less tension in our pluralistic society.

It comes down to the parents to teach their children Christianity to the detail required. But if the parents don’t understand Christianity, they can’t. And if they don’t have precision in their use of English, that gets in the way too. Many, thanks to science’s ridicule of religion, are actively hostile in the teaching of Christianity to our children. That creates yet another barrier, all of which means the daily living of Christianity, as Christ taught, becomes more and more alien and impenetrable as time goes by.

No wonder each poll sees the number of active Christians reduced. Meanwhile, Bibles proliferate. More versions have been published in the last 50 years than ever before. Are they read, or just stored on book shelves? Worse, do they help or hamper the true understanding of the Gospel? I often find myself shouting at these bibles too. The editors’ understanding of Greek and Hebrew may be better than ever, but their usage of English becomes weaker and more imprecise with every translation.

Prayer
Most gracious Father, thank you for those who in the past have made clear your Word for our understanding. They have striven to communicate the Gospel to us in precise terms. We ask for your help to keep that understanding clear, precise, sharp and focused as we continue to walk with you daily. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by John Stettaford

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