Friday, April 1, 2016

What’s In A Name?

There is a sense in which, when we name something we make it so. I don’t mean that we necessarily change the objective reality of the thing (or set of circumstances) that we name, but naming something, naming behavior, naming circumstances – can sometimes create a virtual reality, a perceptual reality. As illusionary as this reality might be, it can become virtual reality for those who subscribe to the image or character which the name conveys. Some virtual realities may be somewhat harmless, but others have the power to change our perception of morals, ethics, and eternal truth.

Powerful perceptual realities may only be seen to be the facades and lies that they are when we are beyond this life – and then it will be too late, we must live with the consequences, especially if the virtual realities we adhere to in this life include the rejection of Jesus Christ.

And so those who profess to follow Jesus Christ should be thoughtful when adopting names and categories and diagnoses that are without a Biblical basis; especially when those diagnoses and categories and names run counter to Biblical truth, especially when they strike at the heart of Biblical revelation. Once we subscribe to a name we legitimize the image or condition. When conducting foreign policy, governments are careful as to when they recognize a new country or a change of government in an existing country – not wanting to confer legitimacy on a government that should not be recognized as legitimate.

This is one of many reasons why knowing the Bible is critical to the church…we learn to think in Biblical patterns, we learn to discern the truth, we compare all things in life to the standard of Scripture. When we leave Biblical patterns of thinking we are adrift in an angry ocean that changes with each moment, tossing us, drowning us, sweeping us to certain destruction – destruction of our hearts and minds…destruction of our souls.

The language of Biblical thinking is something we must cultivate; the language of God is to be our language, the images of God’s truth our truth. The Scriptures tell us that a time will come when men will call good evil and evil good. While no doubt there have been many such times, there is also no doubt that we live in such a time. Calling good evil and evil good, or naming something other than that which it (Biblically) is – does not make it so. What it does do is create strong delusion (2 Thessalonians Chapter 2), a delusion so strong that it sweeps through and over and in an entire society – perhaps even the entire world.

When the professing church uses the language of the world, and thus the thinking of the world, over against Biblical teaching, thus desecrating the image of God by attempting to rename man and hence redefine his nature – we shut the door of hope for many, we confuse the thinking of the church, we pollute the discernment of the church (which is rooted in Biblical truth and holiness and fidelity to Jesus Christ), and we go down not a slippery slope, but rather into an abyss.

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