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’: