When my wife joined the hospital board, she discovered that there are many terms and acronyms thrown out which, unless you are familiar with the medical field, are rather foreign to you and leave you wondering what in the world they are talking about. I suggested that for new board members they really need to have a glossary of terms and acronyms so you know what they are communicating.
The same is true in most fields of interest. Take baseball for another example. There are a plethora of acronyms, which, unless you follow the sport, you have no idea what they stand for. For batters you have “BA” (batting average), “HR” (homeruns), “RBI” (runs batted in), “SLG” (slugging percentage which is determined by total bases), “SB” (stolen bases), “OBP” (on-base percentage), “RISP” (batting average with runners in scoring position), etc. Recently a couple new stats have been added: “OPS” (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), “EQA” (equivalent batting average, taking into account the pitcher faced and the ballpark played in), and “WRC+” (Weighted Runs Created Plus…which calculates the runs the player helped to create taking into account pitchers faced and ball park).
When you are trying to communicate with someone not familiar with your field of interest and expertise, it is best to simplify your terminology. The same is true as Christians share about their faith and about Christianity. It is easy to use “Christianese” terminology, words with which we are familiar, but which probably mean little, if anything, to the unsaved individual or new Christian. We throw around terms like “born again,” “sanctification,” “rapture” ,”Second Coming,” and maybe some of God’s attributes like “immutability,” “omnipotence,” and “omniscience,” assuming our audience understands their meanings. There is obviously a time and place for discussing such terms, but when we are talking to the general public, we need to use the “Kiss Principle”–Keep It Simple Stupid!
The Apostle Paul, who was very well educated in Judaism, trained by Rabbi Gamaliel, and after his conversion experience on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9), spent two/three years in the wilderness being taught directly by Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11-18), could easily have used lots of big words and persuasive speech, and at times–depending on his audience–did so, but he also knew that he needed to keep the message to most very simple. Notice what he said about his visit to Corinth in Macedonia: “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (I Cor. 2:1-5).
Paul could easily have used his credentials (see Phil. 3:4-7) to influence people to come to Christ, but he drew their attention instead to what really matters, Jesus and the Cross and His resurrection. To the churches in Galatia (Asia Minor) he wrote: “But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). Paul’s message, and ours as well, should be all about Jesus, who alone is “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6).
There is a time and place for getting into the “meat” of the Word (I Cor. 3:1-3; Heb. 5:11-6:1) and doing some in-depth teaching, but remember when sharing with those without Christ, or new-born Christians, “Keep It Simple!” Talk about Jesus. Focus on the “Good News” (the Gospel...Ro. 1:16,17).