Experts: Don’t Assume Everyone Can Speak ‘Christianese’

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Do you consider yourself to be washed in the blood? Born Again? Blessed?

If you don’t speak “Christianese,” you might need a translator. Those who are familiar may want to rethink their speech: Depending on whom you’re talking to, you could be sending a confusing message.

“Are You Washed in the Blood,” is an old hymn is old hymn dating back to the late 1800s. A lot of people don’t even know what it means anymore.

Katie is a college student working on a photography project in downtown Dallas. Asked, “Are you washed in the blood?” a strange look came over her face before she answered, “No.”

But any seminary student can tell you what it means.

“Means you’re forgiven,” said Nick Bank.

Bank is working toward a Masters in Theology. But it doesn’t take one to know what it means to be “washed in the blood.”

“That’s when He died. He shed his blood for us. That means he covered up all our sins,” Curtis Gray said.

Curtis Gray is homeless. But he always has a church to go to.

“I was raised up in a church,” Gray said.

Which is where he first learned what some are calling “Christianese.”

“Christianese is basically an insider Christian lingo,” Nick Bank said.

“I think Jesus started Christianese. He was the founder of it.

He kind of created His, this whole new movement of vernacular and way of living,” Jerrod Morgan said.

Morgan is a worship leader at the Dallas House of Prayer.

Bible scholars say Christianese comes right out of the New Testament. There you’ll find words like testimony, amen, and born again.

Some words like rapture and Trinity aren’t found in the Bible but are still based on scripture. No matter: Bible based words are fading from society.

Michelle is a 20-something mom of two who used to attend a Catholic Church. She isn’t sure means to be “born again.”

She says she’s never even heard the term.

Don Closson, of Plano based Probe Ministries, has an explanation. Closson researches the Bible as it relates to current culture.

“We’ve seen a purge from academia. We’ve seen a purge from the media to a great extent, unless it’s making fun of it,” Closson said.

No wonder so many people don’t know Christianese, he added.

“Yeah, it kind of goes over my head,” said Andrew McGinnis.

However, McGinnis, on break from cancer research, admits that he is fluent in Medicalese.

“My specific project is studying reductive-carboxylation,” he said.

“I don’t expect doctors, when they’re talking to each other, to define every word,” Jose Bramer said.

Bramer, who is studying to become a pastor, doesn’t think Christianese is a “bad” thing when he’s talking to someone who understands it.

“It becomes a bad thing if we use it to exclude people or make them feel less than because they don’t know what we’re talking about,” Bramer said.

But most people who use Christianese say they don’t even realize it.

“You know, I’m so submerged in it, it’s hard to know what other people wouldn’t know,” Nick Bank said.

Those who don’t know, Bank says, should ask.

“I don’t know a single Christian who would be offended if you said what do you mean by that Or why do you talk that way?” Bank said.

Christianese outside the church isn’t the true mark of a Christian anyway, Don Closson says.

“We’re to draw people to God through our good works,” Closson said.

Then, he says, people can ask an entirely different question.

“Why do you behave this way? Why do you act this way?

And there was have an opportunity to give an answer and a reason for the hope we have in Christ,” Bank said.

Here’s a guide, of sorts, to the art of ‘Christianese’:


One Comment

  1. Vanessa Webb says:

    “We’ve seen a purge from academia. We’ve seen a purge from the media to a great extent, unless it’s making fun of it,” Closson said.

    EXACTLY!! It’s been purged. The world won’t be satisfied until all things Christian including Christians themselves are “purged” from existance. I for one will not change the way I speak because I might confuse some lost soul. I don’t care what they ask if it opens a door to a conversation about Christ.

    1. Modern Man says:

      Oh the poor wittle Christian. Why can’t you be satisfied with a church on every corner, your own schools, your own music, your own bookstores, your own channels, your own radio stations, your own “news” and your own “facts.” Why must you have Christianity everywhere at all times. How weak is your faith that you can’t stop hearing it for even a moment?

      1. Shelley Watson-Price says:

        Modern Man, we are not weak at all in our Faith, we simply try to share it with others. If you are not interested in Joy, peace, hope, love and caring church families then that is your own choice. Sharing our Faith is trying to show others love and Grace by knowing Jesus Christ. God bless!

    2. Shelley Watson-Price says:

      I totally agree! I say “have a blessed day” rather than just have a nice day! I would welcome anyone to ask me WHY I am daying that , or why I have happiness and joy, so they can know Jesus themselves. I really WISH people would QUIT trying to make Christians “Purged” as well, even a minority.
      I bet had they simply asked people if they were Christians, more would have said YES!

      1. Modern Man says:

        No God, know peace. True happiness comes from being in control of your own life, working hard, and making goods decisions without magical fairies to bail you out. Don’t waste this life dreaming of a future heaven that doesn’t exist.

        Know God, fight with every other sect until the end of time.

  2. Thomas Squiers says:

    I am confused by this feature. It is extremely one sided. There are numerous Christians and those part of several denominations that do not use the so-called “Christianese” that was reported on in this story. Why were only evenagelical types interviewed as “experts” on this? Why not interview the highly trained academic staff at Perkins or Brite? As an Episcopal monk, I can assure you, Christianese is not part of my lingo – that makes me no less of a Chrsitian.

    1. Rusty says:

      Thank you for an intelligent and reasoned response to this “story.”
      If Ch 11 is going to waste their news time explaining how “Christians” speak, then maybe it is time to find other news stations to watch.

      There is no shortage of important news to be covered. CBSDFW is ignoring state, local, and national issues for unimportant “fluff” stories like this – wasting huge segments of time.

      In the meantime, real “Christian” issues go uncovered: Caring for the ill, Feeding the poor, Helping your neighbor. Ch 11 should spend more time on the lack of healthcare in Texas, on the Foodbanks desperate for enough supplies to feed the growing number of poor, on the plight of the elderly as pension funds are plundered by executives…. on anything other than meaningless “explanations” of how ONE group of many Christian groups talks.

      Sad waste of airtime.

      1. Shelley Watson-Price says:

        Yes it was! As you said there are people living right here in our United States, living on Unemployment that barely pays their bills, having to try and get food from food banks, It does not matter when your a Christian how you speak! Christians are trying to work collectively to help people through these crisis situations. ALL Area food banks need donations BADLY!

  3. Melinda Hooten says:

    Great segment! Thank you for treating evangelical Christianity with dignity and respect!. Usually we only see that on FoxNews. You interviewed people who understand what it means to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

  4. Nina says:

    I didn’t see the relevance behind the story. I don’t know any Christians who would use these phrases outside of church or a conversation with another Christian or at least someone who was moderately versed in the Bible.

  5. Lenda Barnes says:

    Parents have done an injustice by not taking their children to church to learn the Bible stories. They have not learn the foundation of life. Life Is not money, but their relationship with Jesus Christ . It’ a one on one relationship they learn from reading the Bible. May God bless and kept them. They need to read “John 3:16,”

  6. glenda says:

    You must really be hurting for stories. Why is it that the news media always find something wrong with Christianity? If it is not bashing the ten commandments it is now talking about the way we talk. I haven’t found a person yet who objected to my saying “Bless You” to. Why make an issue about the way we talk, it just make much sense. Of course why would anyone who has read the ten commandments make an issue about them. Nothing makes any sense anymore. Anyway God Bless!!!

  7. Monica says:

    I praise my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; for I am saved (John 3:16). I am indeed born-again (John3:3). I am a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). I am saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). I was chosen in God before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). I am no longer in the old Adam, I am now in the last Adam – Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45). I was crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), I was buried with Christ (Romans 6:4), I was raised with Christ, (Colossians 3:1) I am seated in the heavenlies with Christ (Ephesians 2:6). Those who are born again are taught by God. I always pray for all unsaved people everywhere, that they receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, so you can have eternal life through Jesus. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world, will you receive Him the Blessed Saviour, for the salvation of your souls? Romans 10:9- If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    1. There is No God says:

      You are one of the prime examples of why I have run screaming from all the Baptist churches my mama ever took me to. Many of them use brainwashing type techniques to the point they are cult-like. You run around in a panic that if you don’t get baptized something horrible will happen. Have you noticed that when someone asks if you are saved and you say “no” they start like a robot with all these scriptures? It was only till I left these churches did I realize what strange perverted mind control they have over you. I’m sure after I post this they’ll all comment like the zombies they are that they’ll “pray for me” or say “have fun in hell.”

      1. Jeff D Johnson says:

        There is No God, I am just sorry that you feel that way. Not all Christians are that way and it is sad to me that is all you have seen or choose to believe of us.

      2. Armanda says:

        I am sorry as well that you feel that way. Its sad to me that there are people out there that dont believe in God. We dont run around in a panic if you dont get baptized because that is not how you get to Heaven anyways. You mus be washed in the blood by Jesus Christ and get saved or born again through your faith in Him and ask Him to come and live in your heart. And yes you are right in one area. I am going to tell you that I will pray for you because I pray for EVERYONE out there that isnt saved and if you dont get saved believe me you will NOT have fun in Hell!

      3. There is No God says:

        Thank you for your kind words christian zombies but I am so much happier now that I have left your cult. I live a good and moral life. I’m kind and now give my 10 percent to non religious charities. I think there are some people who need to be christian because they need that structure in their lives otherwise many of them would go totally off the rails if they didn’t have it. So continue to be washed in the blood because you obviously would be total wrecks without it.

      4. phil barber says:

        Well ….Im very sorry 4 the bad experiences that uve had in church…..but I just want to say 2 u…..and not 2 push anything down ur throat…..knowing JESUS CHRIST as ur Personal SAVOIR….is a choice that we each have!!! I can say from my own experiences how GOD has touched me, spared my life and given me miracles that could have only come from GOD himself!!!! I pray blessings on & in ur life….and I pray that if u are ever in a life or death situation…..that if u only remember one thing Ive said… out 2 GOD…..and I pray he answers….because it is not a guarantee that he will save ur life….but if u,confess ur sins, ask 4giveness,then he will forgive u and u will make heaven ur home…..and that is the main thing!!! Myself….Im just a sinner …saved by Grace!!!! I say that u r in my prayers….out of no disrespect 2 u….I just pray 4 all that I can!!!! And one last thing….to whom that said to u…..”have fun in hell”….that is wrong & not the thing 2 say 2 anyone!!!!! GOD BLESS U & URS!!!!!

  8. DeWayne Shepherd says:

    This was the dumbest news or reporting of news i’ve ever heard in my life….you’ve got to be kidding….this is ridiculous…if i say i’m blessed and you don’t know what that means, or if you don’t know what that means then feel free to email me at and i’ll explain to you what it means, i will share salvation with you, and tell you about a man named Jesus Christ who died for mine and your sins…..if you don’t know what it means then that means you’re lost and your life is probably a mess…if you don’t know what it means then that’s what you need to report….your report was stupid!! Lady go report on something that deserves being put on the news…..i’m sure because you’re hispanic you’re probably Catholic, and i’m talking about the reporter… why don’t you do a report on the ridiculous rituals Catholics do every Sunday….and talk about why no one i know get anything out of the Catholic service because it’s dead….spiritually it’s dead… on that!

    1. Jeff D Johnson says:

      DeWayne, it’s comments like yours that give Christians a bad name. You have to focus on your little slice of belief. We as Christians shouldn’t be trying to tear each other apart for differences in how we worship. If you don’t like a Catholic mass, then don’t attend. But please put your narrowed minded views in check.

  9. Allen says:

    Interesting story but I am not sure what it was supposed to accomplish. It didn’t really investigate much and just gave some soundbites. The fact is that all groups inevitably develop their own shorthand to communicate more efficiently. Scholarship in all fields does the same thing because otherwise thought provoking essays would necessarily encompass volumes just to communicate assumed, shared knowledge. The only difference here is that the Christians are a much larger subset of people. So what was the point of the article? Still trying to figure that out, but I am glad I didn’t stay up just to watch it.

    1. Shelley Watson-Price says:

      Really felt a lot like that,,I am a Mom and Grandma, Do I speak “Momanese” when I tell my children “bed Now” that is simply short for …go to bed right now!

  10. Dennis M. says:

    As a person who found truth in Christ and the Scripture, I would suggest the solution is better education, not limiting our vocabulary. Our society would be far better off being exposed to the truth… who Christ is and why He died on the cross. How is limiting/suppressing the truth helping our society? Real peace and joy come by believing in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour…. Read John 3:16, it will explain it to you. Be willing to search out the real truth, and learn, instead of being distracted by the noise of society around you!

    1. There is No God says:

      Dennis I have read John 3:16 since I was a kid. Still don’t get it and never will. But if it gets you through your day keep reading it. Take care buddy and thank goodness you have found something that helps you.

  11. david says:

    it’s just another stealth attack on christians from the liberal media..there was another reporter this morning that pointed out how incorrect our thankgiving tradtions are

  12. There is No God says:

    The only thing we really dislike as non-christians is when you guys try to ram your beliefs down our throats againist our will. Just imagine if a muslim follower came up to you and tried to get you to follow their beliefs. You would not appreciate it. So please just respect our need to have space from your beliefs.

  13. Modern Man says:

    Is KTVT becoming a Christian station or do you plan to return to providing news and information for the general public. First the beatification of Emmit Smith and now this. It isn’t as if we aren’t inundated with Christianity everywhere we turn in this area.

    1. Jenai says:

      I agree. Channel 11 lost me just from the promo. I think you christians need to go get your church talk education from your churches. Let’s get back to putting the news into the news broadcast. I should have NO idea what religion my newscaster affiliates with but repeatedly, I’m reminded that channel 11 and Karen Borta especially, are christians and are VERY biased against non believers. My head just wants to explode when christians claim THEY are discriminated against.

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