Saturday, 4 January 2014

The need of having always a vocabulary at hand

When we hear any word, we should not automatically accept its meaning as face value, or presume than the person who uses it, means the same thing as we think it means. We live in an age where the meaning of the words and their use is uncertain, susceptible to being bent and twisted according to convenience and the ideological presuppositions of their users.

"The objective" and “the absolute” are now denied and have been replaced by “the subjective” and “the relative”. This is why we must always be on the alert and wary of deception coming even from what we think are trusted sources such as the media, government, science or even official church organisations. We would like to trust these, but we cannot always do so now. For this, we need discernment, an ability to think for ourselves, independently. Often discernment is hard work as we must carefully evaluate, analyse and compare the actual meaning of the words we hear. We need, as it were, to keep a dictionary, at hand.

In committed Christian circles, the word “Gospel” (Good News) is considered clear in its meaning and evangelism, an established duty, rooted in a Biblical commission. Often, nevertheless, by Gospel and evangelism, spoken about and undertaken, we are confronted with very different and often unstated meanings and questionable practices. We need the Gospel to be preached and evangelism to be undertaken, but what is it meant by “Gospel”. We cannot accept any “evangelistic activity” as good and dutiful without evaluating its content and how is it undertaken. The discerning must ask this question: “Is it really true and consistent with what the New Testament means by “Gospel” and “evangelism”? Those who are not satisfied with slogans and have an in-depth knowledge of the New Testament, will soon realize that often there is a substantial discrepancy between what the New Testament means by the gospel, the "good news" for excellence, and what today, in different churches and places, is defined.

There are “false gospels” around. Many chuches do offer false gospels, “other gospels” and hide behind "half-truths".Evangelizing, or sharing the Gospel of grace, is what the four evangelists par excellence do in the New Testament, each one of them with their own style, and accent. They centre everything they say on Christ, on His credentials as Lord and Savior, His work and the "effect" He produces on those who rely on Him.

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