I have a confession to make: Often when I read Christian blogs (including this one) I have absolutely no idea what in the world the people are talking about. No clue. At all.

Maybe it’s that despite being an evangelical for over thirty years I still don’t quite comprehend evangelicalese (a distinct possibility). Maybe it’s that I’m not that bright (which is a certainty). Or maybe—just maybe—these well-intentioned bloggers are failing to actually communicate with their audience because they are using words and concepts in a way that casts more shadows than light.

I’ll give you one recurring, though nonspecific, example. I often read a lot of vague musing about Gospel and Law. Gospel, in these posts, is an ill-defined term that represents all that is good and holy. If you have the Gospel then you have everything and are doing it right since you’re not really doing anything at all (Jesus does all the work). Law, on the other hand, is an ill-defined term that represents all that is bad and wrong with Christianity. The law is a nasty thing that some Christians (mainly people the blogger doesn’t like) are shoving down people’s throats, leading to all manner of evils and causing them to miss out on the Gospel. From what I can tell, the Gospel is so effective at washing away sin that we can pretty much ignore it completely—both in our lives and in the world. Too much concern about sin means that we are focused on the Law. (Oddly the term “sanctification” rarely enters these discussions at all, though it would seem to have some bearing.)

I read these types of posts and then I read the Bible and then I get thoroughly confused. These are generally godly men and women who are well-versed in the Bible and theology. They have a richness and depth of understanding that I will likely never possess. But for some reason I can’t get quite connect the dots between what scripture says and what they are saying. Reading their posts is like watching a 3-D movie without the special glasses; I can make out vaguely familiar shapes but the whole isn’t recognizable.

I realize this is a maddeningly vague complaint and that my example is an inadequate representation for what I’m trying to describe. I also acknowledge that the misunderstanding may be completely due to my own deficiencies and failings. But if its not, then it means there are other people who are similarly confused. They are likely thinking that they are the only ones who are missing the point and that they are just too dumb to understand this heady theological stuff.

Are there such people or am I the only one? And if there are more of us, how can we communicate our confusion so that others will be able to better explain what they mean?

Articles by Joe Carter

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