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Posts Tagged ‘words’

The Catholic Church (Part 1)

March 7th, 2011 No comments

I’ve mentioned that “Orthodox” is a word I’d like us Mainline Protestants to reclaim. Another word like that is “Catholic.”

The word “catholic” means “universal” or “entire.” It comes from a Greek word that means “according to the whole.” Unlike “orthodox,” this word actually appears in Scripture, where members of the high priest’s party examine the disciples and order them not to testify about Jesus:

So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

The word that eventually became “catholic” is translated here as “at all.” The only place in Scripture where this word occurs is here in Acts 4:18.

If that verse were the only place Christians used the word catholic, it wouldn’t matter. But of course it isn’t. Most of the time, when American Protestants say “catholic” they’re referring to the Roman Catholic Church. This is reasonable, as 95% of “Catholics” are members of the Church of Rome, and only 5% belong to the 22 Eastern Catholic churches.

But at the same time, Protestants assert their own catholicity. Read more…

Straight Teaching

February 21st, 2011 No comments

Imagine an argument where one parent said, “I love our baby,” and the other parent didn’t reply, “Well, so do I!” Even in an amicable separation, that would raise some eyebrows. For the same reason, there are three words I’d like mainline protestant Christians to reclaim. They each represent something too important to walk away from.

One of those words is “orthodox.” We don’t use the word very much, except when we use a capital “O” to refer to “Orthodox Christians,” the eastern branches of Christianity resulting from the Great Schism of 1054.

That’s too bad, because “orthodoxy” should be important to us. Read more…

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Words Worth Holding Onto

February 17th, 2011 No comments

When my children were younger, their kindergarten teacher taught them this saying: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can also hurt me.” That’s not the version I learned when I was a kid: back then we were taught that words could never hurt us. I’m of two minds about changing that saying. There should, on the one hand, be a clear distinction between physical violence and verbal aggression, but it is also true that words can hurt us.

Words are powerful things. Read more…

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