WORDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE!
The ancient patriarch, Job, was both a wise and righteous man. The book that bears his name is astounding from a variety of viewpoints. In the height of his misery, and with the added torment of his not so wise friends, he lamented a longing to have an audience with his Creator that he might lay out his case before Him. To his astonishment, he was accorded such a unique hearing. The initial question put to him by the Creator was: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” Job 38:2. Words without knowledge. Words without knowledge! Think what this means!
The importance of specific understanding of words is essential in the correct conveyance of ideas. However, the weakness of words in their specific language, and the propensity of many people to use them as labels to which a variety of ideas may be attached may defeat their purpose in the minds of some even though it does not diminish the power of their original purpose. For all of his understanding, Job had this problem. A host of folks who have a lesser measure of wisdom than Job still have that problem.
With split infinitives, dangling modifiers, misplaced adjectives intermingled with colloquialisms and idioms, making English a barrister’s paradise, how much more perilous could it be for precise ideas to be exchanged? Please patiently consider this with me.
A typical example is the term, “Christian.” Who or what is a Christian? To a religious world largely influenced by Protestantism and it’s universal, invisible church doctrine, it is anyone who confesses Jesus as the Son of God. Protestantism’s mother, the Roman church allows that anyone who does not have Catholic baptism is a heretic, hence, not Christian. In both of these bodies of religion they understand that the basic idea of “Christian” is tied to the church: But Catholicism believes itself to be the universal, visible church, and Protestantism believes in a universal invisible church. True Baptists are not, nor have they ever been a part of either.
Still, through the power of Protestant influence, hyper-evangelism, and their propensity to use words as labels, darkening counsel without the knowledge of them, many Baptist churches have unwittingly fallen into great weakness, attributing to all who profess initial faith in God as a “Christian,” when they have done nothing more, and often not as much, than Old Testament folks did.
Please consider that the term “Christian” designates one who is anointed with the Spirit that anointed Jesus at His baptism and the first church on the day of Pentecost. These have been buried with Christ, and raised again to walk in “newness of life” in the New Covenant body of Jesus, the house of God, the Pillar and ground of the truth: His church. To ascribe that term to those not so doing is to pervert New Testament teachings and inject a weakness into the body of Christ that, in time, will be its undoing. If we will use words, let us by all means know what they mean etymologically, and contextually. Ministers have a heavy responsibility to enlighten counsel, not darken it.