We often hear about a need to read the labels on various products so we can properly assess their value or potential harmful effects. The assumption is that the label correctly describes the contents and therefore allows one to correctly evaluate the product.
One area where the consumer is very likely to be misled by the labels is in the area of religion. Vague and misleading terms and a mystifying jargon are the bread and butter of much religious expression. If the average citizen attends the average church and listens to the typical sermon will they readily understand what is said? Probably not.
Now I suspect that many routine church goers will fault the average citizen for their own misunderstanding. Being too worldly and not properly “grounded” in the word of God supposedly prevent one from receiving God’s message. This kind of thinking makes the failure of the church to get the message across the responsibility of the potential hearer. That is seems just a bit too convenient. The church has a critical message to disseminate; but, if it fails, it can just shift the blame to someone else. I tried, Lord, but those sinners were just too ignorant and willful to understand.
Instead of self righteously faulting the uninitiated for failing to comprehend, the church needs to quit speaking in tradition bound vagueness and actually explain God and His work in terms anyone can understand. Spouting the King’s English circa 1611 interspersed with the doctrinal errors of the last two millennia will not get the job done. Calling the doctrine of eternal punishment a part of “good news” won’t cut it. The goodness of any news must be born out by its content and effects not determined by the label the church may chose to attach to it.