I read that you can read a red book and then throw it into the reed bed along side the highway...
You say 'toe may toe' and I say 'to mah toe'.
Our English language is a unique animal. What one person says in New Mexico might be describing the very same thing that a person in Rhode Island has but uses different words to do so. Or, two people can use the same words but be talking about two completely different things. Just the other night in choir practice, we were talking about 'chicken pot pie'. I grew up with large strips of dough mixed with chicken and other ingredients to create chicken pot pie (A Pennsylvania Dutch dish).
But other folks who grew up in a different region of our country know that true chicken pot pie is....well a pie shell with chicken, veggies, and other ingredients.
The same descriptor is clearly talking about two different things. Both dishes are on my list of good cuisine. So, where does that leave us in the church? Well, we United Methodists have never shied away from preparing and eating food at our ministry functions. How about the words we use in our faith journey?
We can use words in our worship services and other places of ministry that might make sense to us but leave those from another framework of understanding left to scratch their heads and say, "What?"
The Gospel, at its core, is quite simple. God creates and loves us. We sin and separate ourselves from God because of our choices. God loves us and doesn't want the separation there. God sends Jesus to die on a cross so we don't have to suffer for our sins. We confess and repent and accept the work Jesus did on the cross. Our relationship with God is restored. We live in freedom. God commands us to tell our story to another person who desires answers to faith.
However, one can hear on any given day, talk about the rapture and predestination, dispensationalism, pre-milliennial, and post-millennial. (Hermenuetics, homiletics, exegesis) "Are you saved?", etc, etc.... For one seeking faith answers and earnestly desiring to know God, Jesus, and salvation, it can be daunting.
As a pastor, I need to know the meaning of the big $25 words and use them to present the Gospel. I also need to know my church context and be able to present the Gospel in digestable pieces that can be understood by all. I pray every day that God places His words on my lips and people can understand the significance of 'new life' and 'salvation'. After all the words in this blog have been written, the Gospel is defined in one word. Love.