Monday, December 10, 2007

Do Words Have Meaning Anymore?

My lovely wife was hanging out on a message board where the topic of infant baptism came up. A few ladies had responded to this person who had asked why people baptize babies. As she was reading through the responses my wife became confused, because she was seeing terms thrown about that we Lutherans cherish such as means of Grace, sacraments, etc but their stated beliefs were not consistent with the meanings of these terms. The height of which was a Nazarene lady who was throwing these terms around and cited as thinking the LC-MS website on infant baptism was a great statement but then proceeded to say baptism doesn't save. My wife having been positively influenced by me in matters of theology politely called her on the inconsistency and asked her to clarify. To which the lady essentially responded, I am not a theologian don't ask me to define my terms. This incident got us to wondering do people actually acknowledge that words have meaning, that we should understand that meaning, or do we just adopt something that sounds nice regardless of meaning?


Melissa said...

"Means of grace" is one of those terms that seems to hold very different meanings to members of different Christian denominations. Call me a pedant, but I almost feel as if any theological discussion between members of different denominations should begin on a consensus as to the meanings of words like "baptism" and "repentance." We often use the words to symbolize completely different concepts.

Liz said...

I fully agree with Melissa... and one should also define the word "save" and variations thereof. To the non-liturgical, "get saved" means "obtain salvation for myself" so when they say "baptism doesn't save you" they assume one is talking about something completely different then when a Lutheran says "infant baptism is necessary for salvation."

TulipGirl said...

Defining the terms, taking one another seriously (and ourselves less so). . . helpful.