Do You Speak Christian-ese?

It appears we are not “user-friendly” or “seeker-sensitive,” and we speak a strange dialect called
“Christian-ese.”

by Rickey Bradford
R

ecently I tuned in to the daily broadcast of a well-known television ministry and was somewhat shocked to learn most church in our day are missing the mark. It appears we are not “user-friendly” or “seeker-sensitive,” and we speak a strange dialect called
“Christian-ese.”

This “language” not only is foreign to church guests; they have little interest in learning it. In order for us to attract more people, the TV minister suggested that changes be made to make everyone feel more comfortable in church.

I am in no way opposed to trying new techniques to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am aware that churches that refuse to change are destined to decline, and we live in a technological age that mandates constant updating. However, the goal of the church is not to blend in, but to stand out; to be different; to be a light in the darkness; to offer hope; to show a better way—the way of Christ.

The strange language we speak is a faith-based language. It is anchored in God’s Word. It allows us to be a positive force in a negative world. When Jesus Christ shared His message, people said, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46 NKJV). Jesus broke the mold of His day by speaking differently than everyone else, even the religious leaders. His words were gospel—“good news.”

It is the role and duty of born-again believers to be positive and use faith-filled words in our conversations. We trust God’s promises before they are filled. We speak peace in the midst of the storm. Regardless of the circumstances, we speak God’s Word and believe for His will to be done. We portray to the world that those who confess Christ are out of the ordinary.

There is tremendous pressure on the church and the Christian to conform to the ways of the world. Tolerance is the push of the day. We do not want to give the impression that we are archaic and out of touch with the times. So we live in an age of diluted doctrine, cussing Christians, sipping saints, bewildered believers and misdirected disciples. We are pressured to abandon biblical teachings to meet the expectations of the unsaved, in the hopes of being interesting enough to cause them to want to come to our churches. Growth must not come at the expense of godliness!

It is not time for us to attempt to be more like what people are trying to escape. If we offer what the world offers, we are nothing more than a social club. Biblically stated, we are “as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1)—an out-of-tune spiritual rhythm section or a second-rate band. We have “a form of godliness” but have no power (2 Tim. 3:5). Powerless churches cannot change lives. Regardless of the number of attendees, a powerless church is a dying church.

We will reach people by showing them the love of Christ and declaring the good news. Where there is food, the hungry will come. Where there is drink, the thirsty will come. Where there is healing, the sick will come. Where there is deliverance, the captive will come. If we lift up Jesus Christ, He will draw people to Himself.