Friday, May 18, 2007

Atonement: Lost Words, Lost Meaning, Lost Salvation

Below is a quote from B. B. Warfield worthy of deep reflection:

You see, that what we are doing today as we look out upon our current religious modes of speech, is assisting at the death bed of a word. It is sad to witness the death of any worthy thing,--even of a worthy word. And worthy words do die, like any other worthy thing--if we do not take good care of them.

And these good words are still dying all around us. There is that good word "Evangelical." It is certainly moribund, if not already dead. Nobody any longer seems to know what it means.

I think that you will agree with me that it is a sad thing to see words like these [redeemer and redemption] die like this. And I hope you will determine that, God helping you, you will not let them die thus, if any care on your part can preserve them in life and vigor.

But the dying of the words is not the saddest thing which we see here. The saddest thing is the dying out of the hearts of men of the things for which the words stand.

The real thing for you to settle in your minds, therefore, is whether Christ is truly a Redeemer to you, and whether you find an actual Redemption in Him,--or are you ready to deny the Master who bought you, and to count His blood an unholy thing?

B. B. Warfield, from the opening address delivered in Miller Chapel, Princeton Theological Seminary, September 17th 1915


Unknown said...

Good quote. One of the sad losses we're facing is that "evangelical" looks set to go the way of the word "fundamentalist", if it hasn't done so already. Something my church discussed at a meeting recently was the use of the word "evangelical", and whether it communicates anything meaningful to the people around us.

If the understanding most people are likely to have of it from the media is something along the lines of "bigoted fundamentalist extremists", so is it a good idea to call ourself an Evangelical Church? Should we stop using the term, at least outside of situations where we are able to explain what exactly we mean by "evangelical"? How do we make sure we preserve our identity and commitment as evangelicals even if the word "evangelical" is widely misunderstood?

Martin Downes said...


Thanks for dropping by. You may know that we named the church Christ Church, Deeside for exactly some of the reasons that you mention.