Home > Christianity, Sharing Your Faith > Christian-ese


October 29, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

After yesterday’s post, I thought it was only appropriate to talk about Christian-ese.  What is Christianese you might ask?  Christianese, as defined by Webster’s, is

“the language native to those which identify themselves as Christ.  It is a combination of the local geographical language, with many unidentified terms thrown in which people who are not Christians are clueless as to their origin, meaning, and use.  Examples include: born again, saved, justified, sanctified, soteriology, among many others.”

How often do these words slip their way into our every day conversation either for the good of for the bad.  If you look at yesterday’s post, I posted quite a negative phrase without even realizing it.  


  1. Negative names toward the people who do not identify themselves as Christians will not ever be seen as positive by using “Christianese cliches.”  Yesterday, I used “lost and dying world” just as a general statement meaning those who are outside of Christianity – but when you break it down, as morsecode easily brought out – that’s pretty harsh.  I even believe that referencing them as sinners is useless, as you have to first identify what a sin is, and then explain that everyone has sinned and on and on…why bother?  People who are not Christians are not Christians – that seems to be where they identify themselves.  Why bother identifying them as something else that sounds a little more “Christian?”

  2. Someone who doesn’t know much about Christianity understands as much of the Evangelistic Christianese as I understand whenever I am in Haiti.  (For those of you who are new, or just slow, that’s none.)  This goes back to the whole idea of “born-again” and “saved” and whatnot.  We’ve all heard it.  “Saved from what?  I’m fine.”  “Born again, that sounds gross!”  Why use terms in evangelism that people don’t understand.  Have we complicated the message of the Gospel by adding in our own words and phrases that confuse the mess out of those we are given the chance to share our faith with?

  3. Using Christianese just to make yourself look smarter or holier.  As sad as it is, at Bible College, I encountered those people.  Imagine this – it’s 7:20 am on a Monday morning and you’re one of the few people on campus who got up for breakfast because you have to study.  You’re groggy, halfway asleep, and your shoes are on the wrong feet.  That’s when the twinkle in someone’s eye appears.  It’s not them being wide awake or happy that bothers me, but it’s the fact that they opened the conversation with something like, “Oh, this is a glorious and blessed morning which the Lord has sanctified to his glorious authority here on earth, is it not brother?”  I don’t know, maybe I just feel like that whole in the world but not of the world thing requires us to be present in the world and not scare people away – which many times, the overbearing attitude like that does.


Well, I don’t know.  I could go on and on about this.  I’m not pointing anyone else out by myself, but I really would love some feedback on this issue?  Am I off base?  Am I hitting a home run?  (Go Rays!)  What Christianese bothers you?  What did I miss?  What do I need to add?  As Christians, lets discuss this issue and realize what we could do better to impact the wonderful world of people around us….  😉

  1. October 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    “This goes back to the whole idea of “born-again” and “saved” and whatnot. We’ve all heard it. ”Saved from what? I’m fine.” ”Born again, that sounds gross!””

    To be fair, those are two terms that I do understand. However, even understanding their intent does not mean that I believe that they really are what you (the general you) claim them to be. And it’s a tiny bit fun to spin Chritianese on it’s head and watch the reaction.

    ‘I was born correctly the first time.” “I don’t need to be saved.” “I love the deluded, hate the delusion.’

    “Am I hitting a home run? (Go Rays!)”

    Well now I’m never converting. No man of god could ever support the Rays.

    Go Phils! Do it for Steve Irwin! (If you don’t get the joke, I’m not going to explain it. 😉 )

  2. October 29, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I get the joke. Just appreciate a low paid baseball program of young men who actually enjoy playing the game. Plus, I’m originally from TN and have been following David Price since high school.

    And you’re an exception to understanding some of these “cliches” as you are one of the few atheists I have ever found to actually study religion, open mindedly, and understand our side better than a lot of Christians do. Other atheists have studied biased versions of Christianity, and get all their meat from there.

  3. October 29, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Here is some Christianese –

    “I love you in the Lord.” (Translation – I can’t stand you!)
    “It’s a God thing” or “God told me…” (Translation – I’ve made up my mind and there is no way you are changing it!)
    “The Spirit just hasn’t convicted me about that.” (Translation – I love drinking [insert favorite vice here] and don’t want to stop yet!)
    Pastors: “God has called us to a new location.” (Translation – We couldn’t tolerate you people any longer!)
    Pastors: “I do this because God called me to.” (Translation – It sure ain’t for the money!)
    “Parsonage.” (Translation – A home of disrepair that everyone in the church has a key to so that we can be of assistance to our pastor and his family at all hours of the day.)

  4. October 29, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    “Parsonage” – If the youth group kids break into my house again, I’ll be tempted to call the cops.

    “Bless your heart…” – You’re an idiot….

  5. October 29, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    “I’ll pray for you,” – You’re going to burn in hell.

  6. October 29, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I don’t know that I’d go that far morse….

    Secondly, most of the Christian’s I have encountered when dealing with atheists just come straight out and tell them they’ll burn in hell without disguising it.

    When I say I’ll pray for someone, I simply do it.

    (I know the post was all in jest, but thought I’d throw it out there anyway.)

  7. October 29, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I was referring to the specific “I’ll pray for you” that comes towards the end of conversations with certain evangelicals that are exasperated by my heatheny goodness.

    Another of my favorites is “I’m just telling you what God says!” when called on judging their fellow humans. Always comes off as a tad defensive.

  8. October 29, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I believe that at certain times one is justified in “saying what God says” when it comes to judgment.

    Have I ever seen it….not that I can really think of. Too many Christians use the name of God to justify wrong actions though.

  9. October 29, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    My point is only that it comes off as very defensive.

    If I ask a certain kind of Christian “Will I go to Hell?” They’ll say “That’s not up to me.” And when I push, they’ll say “You will, but that’s according to god.”

    Which is fine, but it suggests that the Christian disagrees. That somehow the Christian thinks that such judgment is wrong or unjust. At least that’s how it seems.

  10. October 31, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Oh, and another favorite.

    “I see God (or Satan) working through you.” Which translates to “No matter what you do, I win the argument by default!”

    Happy Halloween!

  11. October 31, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Happy Holy-ween to you too morse….

    Just kiddin – I hate Christian marketing and stealing of stuff.


  12. October 31, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I’m thinking of going as a Christian fundamentalist. Any ideas for the costume? 😉

  13. October 31, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Define fundamentalist….

    I consider myself a fundamentalist in the fact that I consider myself aligned with “evangelical Christianity…”

    I do not consider myself the hyper-fundie-Christian mentality.

  14. October 31, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Anyone who thinks their religious scripture is literally true is a fundamentalist.

    Perhaps I should get a cowboy hat, one of Fred Phelps’ signs, a bible, and a dinosaur with a saddle to ride on.

  15. October 31, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    By that definition then I am.

  16. October 31, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    You ride dinosaurs? 😉

  17. October 31, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Just to the Creation Museum. (I really want to go to the museum, this is definitely one of the things I cringed at when I heard of its opening…)

  18. October 31, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    The Creation Museum is second only to the Vatican in hypocritical actions taken by modern day Christians.

    Because we all know that Jesus would live in a golden palace and spend millions on a museum as opposed to, you know, feeding the poor.

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