Christianese: Christian Phrases and Words That Cause Confusion – Part Two
Sunday, October 1, 2023 by Jeff Walton

The following is the second installment in a three-part series that examines common words and phrases used by many Christian pastors, teachers, and believers that confuse, dissuade, and turn away seekers and non-believers from the Christian faith.


Do you attend church or watch online services and become turned off by the message? Are some of the sermons that you hear sound oddly detached from reality? Do otherwise good sermons leave you spiritually empty?


If the answer is yes, you may be suffering from an overdose of Christianese.


Today, we’ll address two additional phrases that I suggest you avoid using in conversation with others when discussing the Bible and its truth. Neither would be considered “salvation issues;” however, they do lead to confusion.


3. Satan is defeated. Yes, but not completely – yet.


In conversations with individuals about spiritual warfare, people sometimes tell me I shouldn’t care about Satan and his demons because they’re defeated.


While it’s true that Jesus Christ sealed Satan’s fate through Christ’s death on the cross and His voluntary substitutionary atonement for our sins, Satan is still free to roam the earth like a roaring lion and lead people to hell through his sin-inducing power. He is still the prince of the air and the father of all lies. Judging from the state of the world, Satan and his minions have been quite successful.


The Bible reminds us of Satan's continued temporary rein over the earth:


1 John 5:19 NKJV

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one


When a criminal has been charged with a crime and is released on bail, they can still commit more crimes – and some often do. Satan is no different. His sentence has been passed, but he still has the power to lure any one of us to a penalty of eternal death – if we allow him by rejecting Jesus Christ.


We live on a spiritual battlefield and should never let our guard down until Jesus Christ returns and God renders Satan’s final punishment. When we discount the power of Satan and his minions, we risk opening up ourselves to attack. Satan wants to lead you to eternal death, and ignoring him makes you an easy target. We must protect ourselves until the Lord calls us home.


4. God is in control. Probably the most repeated phrase that can play into the hands of an agile atheist is “God is in control.”  Yes, God is sovereign, and yes, He rules the universe. He sustains the earth, the stars, the sun, and the moon, but He doesn’t control everything directly. He doesn’t make everything happen, but He does allow events to take place if they further His plan for us.


Even earthly kings, queens, and monarchs do not control many day-to-day activities of their subjects.


Yes, God can reach into our earthly domain and do anything He wants, and I’m sure He does so in a supernatural way that does not pre-empt man’s free will.


Yet, when God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He gave them dominion over their habitat. He instructed them to maintain the garden, name the animals that God created, and care for themselves in the paradise He made for them.


God did not hand-feed Adam and Eve and didn’t do their chores for them, even though he maintained sovereign ownership and control over the garden.


In today's world, a landlord continues to own a rental property while allowing the tenants to live in the dwelling and arrange their belongings freely however they please.


When a Christian states, "God is in control" without reflecting on the consequences, they set themselves up for the inevitable charge from a non-believer that God is responsible for all the evil in the world. God does not force a murderer to shoot or stab a victim. God does not direct a drunk to get into a car and crash into innocent victims and cause death.


We still maintain free will and remain responsible for our actions. If God does not control our actions on a moment-by-moment basis, then he is not "in control" in the true literal sense. He is the King of His kingdom, and we, as adopted members of His family, live freely while trying to obey His commands. In the end, if we do as we please and fail to follow God’s commands – we suffer the consequences – hence, the evil in the world is essentially our own making.


In closing, neither of the above phrases are salvation issues, but they can detract from our ability to share our faith with others who are skeptical or downright hostile to the truth of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that clear and earnest language filled with grace is essential to effectively communicating the facts about Jesus Christ and His saving grace.


Colossians 4:6 NKJV


 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.


In the final installment, we will tackle two contentious phrases: God Is All Loving and the most commonly used phrase of all – Once Saved, Always Saved. Stay tuned, and God Bless.


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