Has the word “evangelical” become meaningless?

Southern Baptist spokesman Russell Moore said that he is no longer referring to himself as an “evangelical.”  He says that today’s political opportunism and theological heresies have made the term meaningless, though he hopes it might come back.

Back in the Reformation times and still in Europe, “evangelical” referred to Lutherans, for whom the Gospel was central to all of their teachings, a term distinguished from the “reformed.”  Later in England, “evangelical” was used to refer to low church Anglicans, and later in America as a term for culturally-open fundamentalists, then for conservative Protestants generally, and then for Christians who emphasize “evangelism.”

It is still a slippery term.  Pollsters categorize Lutherans of the Missouri Synod as “evangelicals” because they emphasize the Gospel and the inerrancy of Scripture, while many Lutherans distance themselves from the term because it connotes non-sacramental, non-liturgical Christianity.

Moore approaches the terminology question differently, tying it in to Donald Trump’s candidacy, of all things.  What do you think of his analysis?  Should the term be retired?  Can you think of alternatives?

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Forbidding the use of “husband,” “wife,” “dad,” “mom”

A professor at the University of Florida is forbidding her students to use words like “husband,” “wife,” “dad,” and “mom” as being insufficiently inclusive. [Read more…]

Epiphany and epiphanies

Today is Epiphany!  Have a merry and happy Epiphany!  It isn’t just about the wise men.  It’s the beginning of a whole season in which the scheduled Bible readings on Sunday deal with “epiphanies” of who Christ is:  His baptism, in which the voice from Heaven says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mathew 3:17); His first miracle; then other Gospel stories, culminating in the Transfiguration, in which the voice from Heaven again says, ““This is my beloved Son,with whom I am well pleased”  (Matthew 17: 5), bracketing Jesus’s ministry with the Father’s identification and favor.

I’m interested in the word “epiphany,” which is also a literary term (meaning a character’s or the reader’s moment of realization in a story) and a term referring to experiences of ordinary life, in which we suddenly see the significance of something.

After the jump, I post an excerpt from a dictionary on the various meanings and uses of “epiphany.”  Read them and reflect on how even the seemingly non-religious uses of the term can apply to Jesus.

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Have a merry Christmas and a happy Christmas

Two years ago, I did a post on the difference between “merry Christmas” and “happy Christmas.” (It has mainly to do, I argued, with the difference between American English, which tends to retain older constructions, such as “merry,” and British English, which favors “happy,” supposedly due to Victorian-era qualms against carousing at Christmas, which “merry” suggested.)

Anyway, if you google this topic, my post will be the first one listed.  For the last few days, thousands of people from around the world who have been wondering abut this odd English usage have done that search and have come to my post.  My readership statistics have skyrocketed.

Most of those readers have found the information they were looking for and won’t be back.  For those of you who are coming back, welcome.

But I especially want to address you long-term readers.  I feel like I know a lot of you.  I appreciate your hanging around here, sticking with us through platform changes and commenting software experiments.  I want to wish all of you both a merry Christmas and a happy Christmas.  And all blessings in the incarnation of our Lord.

Here is what I’ll do.  For every season’s greeting posted in the comments, I will give you a Christmas present:  A top “like this” rating on World Table.  (I have a score in the 90s, so my rating will carry a lot of weight.)

 

He has come to you

The word “advent” derives from the past participle form of venire, the Latin word for “to come,” plus ad, which means “to.”  So the term literally means “has come to.”  The season of Advent, which we have now entered, means that Jesus “has come to” us, to you. [Read more…]

Clinton accuses Sanders of sexism and racism

Hillary Clinton and her organization are fending off the threat from the left by accusing Bernie Sanders–avowed socialist with impeccable leftist credentials–of sexism and racism!  This is because of these two statements he made during the debate:

In the debate, Sanders began by saying, “As a senator from a rural state, what I can tell Secretary Clinton [is] that all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want.” A couple of minutes later, Sanders told former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley: “We can raise our voices, but I come from a rural state, and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not.”

Can you explain what is so doubly bigoted about these two sentences?  Answer after the jump. [Read more…]


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