The Language of the Debate

“Language matters because whoever controls the words controls the conversation, because whoever controls the conversation controls its outcome, because whoever frames the debate has already won it.” So says writer Erica Jong, though we should probably give George Orwell credit for the underlying concept.

Evangelicals need to understand the power of rhetoric when facing the controversies of our present generation. Even professing Christians now use language designed to circumvent debate altogether. Their word choices frame the issues for us, shape and control the conversation, and assume conclusions without evidence. When we mistakenly adopt the words they have chosen for us, we are accepting their default assumptions and allowing them to dictate what we may and may not discuss. That is unacceptable practice for men and women speaking in Christ in the sight of God, and that is truly what we are.

In this series of posts I hope to analyze a few of the new and undesirable ways words and phrases are being used among believers, hold them up to the word of God and see how they look in its light. When we make a regular habit of this, we will find there are some expressions in common use that we are better off avoiding. We will also find we are much less easily deceived and much less at risk of inadvertently leading other believers astray.

The Language of the Debate (1) “Gay Christian”, “LGBTQ Christian”, etc.
The Language of the Debate (2) “Conspiracy Theory”, “Debunked”, “Fact Check”, “Fake News”, “Misinformation”
The Language of the Debate (3) “Complementarian”
The Language of the Debate (4) “Antisemitism”
The Language of the Debate (5) “Racist”
The Language of the Debate (6) “Cancel Culture”