“[God's] silence is not his absense.”
“Satan is real, hell is real, people are dying, sin is alive, repentance is needed, healing is necessary and people need a Jesus who bears a sword and fights for them and men pursuing death for the same cause.”
After reading Carl Trueman’s examination of the idea of Creedal revisions I got to thinking about the idea of church-speak in general.
Trueman notes that one of the reasons for the revision of creeds is “when their language no longer has the same field of meaning as it once had.”
Currently our seminary is offering a class on preaching through the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and the problem that many of the guys seem to be running into is stumbling through or failing to explain some of the more archaic language, ie. Question 18:
“Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?”
A: The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called Original Sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.
As I was listening to the sermon on this question I thought, I could imagine someone saying: “Wait. Its a sin to want righteousness?”
Is this possible misconception enough to say that the language no longer has the same “field of meaning” and should be changed?
Does our protection of the original language of the creeds, end up harming new brother’s and sister’s understanding of what we believe. Should we still say the “quick and the dead?”
Many people would say that we should keep the language the same, and that it is the job of ministers to correct the believers contemporary understanding as to the apparent meaning of the creeds and inform him/her of the historic meaning.
This same thinking would argue that we stick to saying “The Quick and the Dead” and let the pastor latter note “the statement about the quick and the dead, has nothing to do with the 1995 film staring Sharon Stone, and is simply an archaic way of say the living and the dead.”
This to me does not follow the Reformed understanding of making the discipleship of believers a process that happens in vernacular. One of the things that so shaped the reformation was the reformers dedication to communicating in a way that was easily accessible to the people. Should we not follow their pattern and make sure that instruction which is put into the hands of believers is in easily accessible language.
Trueman concludes by saying that “The modern situation presents us with a very different ecclesiastical scene to that of the era of great creeds and confessions.” I would venture to guess that you could not even get NAPARC to agree on an official revision to the Westminster confession of Faith, let alone bring the churches together to work on more universal creedal statements.
In trying to guard the creeds from corruptions, do we setup barriers to them being understood?
Come Soon King Jesus