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Monday, July 09, 2007

Locution Confusion--Part 5

As I've tried to lay out in this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4), language can be tricky. There are certain words we just don't use much anymore. This can cause intimidation (as we have to search a dictionary to find out the term) but rarely create confusion. However, old words, with slightly different definitions, create great confusion.

For discussion sake, let's again consider the FGBC. In my humble opinion (I have no statistics or surveys to back my perspective), confusion with each term in our name is directly proportionate to its frequency of use in society. In order of least used/least confused to most used/most confused:
As I've stated before, I do not believe there is a lot of confusion in regard to the term brethren. A person uses the term "brothers" and we may be confused as to what is meant. Some people consider all mankind to be brothers and sisters. However, when the term "brethren" is used, it seems that most understand this is a term reserved exclusively for the bond found in Christ. (Of course, it also conveys a richer meaning when we know the term is derived from Matthew 23:8, thus it is an affirmation of the priesthood of every believer. Still though, I do not believe the issue is confused, but rather, the deeper meaning may be lost on many.)
This term speaks against denominationalism, yet speaks to cooperation. It conveys that we have no cardinal or pope above us, yet that their is accountability with others. We are not alone and the church extends far beyond geographic borders, but God's mission for the Church involves His work in individual churches. Autonomy, yet partnership. Even more so than brethren, the word "fellowship" can miss much of its deeper meaning.
At this point, the terms become more clouded. Do we mean a collection of regenerate people? Do we mean a congregation of saved and unsaved alike? Do we mean the building where the group meets? Beyond that, are we speaking of one small collection of believers or the Universal Church? (Notice each question could be answered adequately in the affirmative. However, I would state that the second question is not closely enough investigated that while nonbelievers may be attending our congregation and may consider themselves part of the church, and the church may even be confused as to their spiritual status, they are not actually part of the Universal Church and according to 1 John 2:19 should cease to be identified as part of the church the moment their true identity is revealed...but that run-on sentance is a digression for now. Perhaps another series will come later.)

We may be confused as to the word "church," certainly more so than "brethren" or "fellowship," but this is not the most confused term from our name.

What exactly do we mean by that term? (I think there is an answer)
How do we get to the bottom of figuring that out? (I think there is a way)
Is the term simply up for each person's own perspective? (I don't believe so)

more to come...


  • At 7:03 AM, Blogger Brad said…

    Are there any historical documents to shed light on what the founders of the Fellowship may have meant by "Grace?"

  • At 11:52 AM, Blogger Noel said…

    I just wanted to let you know that I have really enjoyed your Locution series. Keep up the "God work."

  • At 9:33 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    patience peppo. we're getting there.

  • At 7:10 AM, Blogger Brad said…

    Forgive me.


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