Article 03 | Language
Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of and which they grow.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
How can we make disciples?
Should we be seeker friendly?
One of the ways the church can fulfill its mission and be the transformational society God created it to be is to teach one another how to speak biblically. Doing so, enables the church to accomplish its’ first task, which is to be the Church as a blessing to the nations.
Stanley Hauerwas and George Lindbeck consider teaching people this new language an essential task of the Church. As Hauerwas writes in Where Resident Aliens Live, “When we say “world”, it is not the same thing that The New York Times means when it says “world.”
Practically, learning the biblical language allows congregation members to enter into and engage with the biblical story and teachings. For example, knowing the language allows the people to connect with ecclesiology titles, preaching and teaching references, and provides a working vocabulary that describes and contextualizes their experiences both formerly in the world and as they are gradually engrafted into the new community.
Philosophically, this emphasis on knowing and using the biblical language is supported by postmodern developments in linguistics. Those developments confirm that our understanding of reality is linguistically constructed, or in other words – the language we use precedes and to a large extent dictates how we interpret our experiences. Because of this, relying exclusively on bible translations that modify biblical terms in order to make them more palatable or culturally relevant may in reality diminish the conceptual integrity of our faith and lead into syncretism.
Recommended Reading: Where Resident Aliens Live by Stanley Hauerwas & Will Willimon, Postmodern Theology: Oxford Companion Kevin J. Vanhoozer (editor)