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Tag: Christian Cliches

How Christianity Sounds to Someone Not Initiated in “Christianese” 

justificationHave you ever wondered how Christianity sounds to people not initiated in “Christianese” — the special language Christians use to talk to one another about their faith? Evangelicals, in particular, have a complex vocabulary of words that only they use. When people unfamiliar with Evangelical Christianity hear or read these words they often scratch their heads and say, huh? As my wife and I travel the rural roads of Northwest Ohio, we come across church signs with all sorts of silly, stupid clichés. If the goal is to convey a certain message to unbelieving passersby, churches are miserably failing. Instead of using words that are easily understood by everyone, Evangelicals use code words or buzz words to get their message out. Christians will understand what they mean, but unbelievers won’t. Perhaps the real purpose of church signs is to say to Christian passersby, Hey, we are on your team! Praise Jesus!

The Dictionary of Christianese website has a list of jargon and clichés used by Christians to converse with one another. I have reproduced some of their list below, along with other words that came to mind as I was writing this post.

  • 10/40 Window
  • A going church for a coming savior
  • Agape love
  • Anointed
  • Apostate
  • Armor-bearer
  • Ask Jesus into your heart
  • At home with the Lord
  • Baby Christian
  • Backslider
  • Baptized with the Spirit
  • Bible belt
  • Body of Christ
  • Born again
  • But for the grace of God, there go I
  • Calminian
  • Carpet time
  • Cheap grace
  • Child of God
  • Child of Satan
  • Christianity is a relationship, not a religion
  • Covet prayers
  • Divine appointment
  • Drive-by evangelism
  • Evangelistically speaking
  • Everything happens for a reason
  • Family of God
  • Feel God’s presence
  • Filled with the Holy Ghost
  • Fire insurance
  • Food, fun, and fellowship
  • Friendliest church in town
  • Friendship evangelism
  • Frozen chosen
  • Give your life to Jesus
  • God is a perfect gentleman
  • God is good all the time
  • God is in our midst
  • God is my co-pilot
  • God never gives us more than we can handle
  • Godly Woman/Man
  • God’s in this place
  • Going out into the highways and hedges
  • Have you been in the Word
  • Have you talked to Jesus today
  • Heart for God
  • Hedge of protection
  • I see that hand
  • Is God speaking to your heart
  • Jesus is coming again
  • Jesus junk
  • Jesus loves you
  • Justified/Justification
  • Keep Christ in Christmas
  • Lie from the pit of Hell
  • Life verse
  • Living by faith
  • Lord willing
  • Lost
  • Love the sinner, hate the sin
  • Lukewarm Christian
  • Missional
  • Missionary Kid
  • Name it, claim it
  • New life in Christ
  • Not inspired version (NIV)
  • On fire Christian
  • Only one life, t’will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last
  • Praise report
  • Prayed up
  • Prayer breakfast
  • Preacher boy
  • Proverbs 31 woman
  • Put on the armor of God
  • Putting out a fleece
  • Reaching the lost
  • Redeemed by the blood
  • Redeem the time
  • Redeemed
  • Red-letter Christian
  • Reprobate
  • Saved by the blood
  • Sanctified
  • Sawdust trail
  • Saved
  • Sinner’s prayer
  • Smoking hot wife
  • Soulwinning
  • Speak the truth in love
  • Spirit led
  • Spiritual birthday
  • Spiritual warfare
  • Sword drill
  • Thank you for the blood
  • The blood, the book, and the blessed hope
  • The Holy Spirit is moving
  • The Lord has placed it on my heart
  • There’s power in the blood of the lamb
  • This is between you and God
  • Transformed life
  • Traveling mercies
  • TULIP (the five points of Calvinism)
  • Turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh
  • Under the blood
  • Unspoken prayer request
  • Walk with the Lord
  • Washed in/by the blood
  • Which dog are you feeding
  • Word from the Lord
  • Worldling
  • WWJD
  • You take the first step and God will help you take the rest

there's power in the blood of jesus

I could add more words, but I thought I would let readers add their own words in the comment section. What Christian jargon and clichés should be added to this list?

I frequently use Christianese in my writing because I know it is an effective way to communicate with doubting Evangelicals. When terms such as the ones above are used, those of us who used to be Evangelicals know exactly what someone is trying to say. Unbelievers, on the other hand, don’t understand these words. Bought by the blood? Who is blood, and who or what did he buy? Washed in the blood? Eww, gross. Justified? Left, center, right, or full? Do you believe in TULIP? What color? the Holy Spirit is moving! Was he constipated? Name it, claim it! Cool, BMW, please with a smoking hot wife!

Your turn.

Bruce Gerencser