Say What? Reviewing Jargon

R. Gustason, 05 Sep 2011

John took the results, showing gram-positive diplococci, and proceeded to instruct Mary on what she should do to make herself whole again.  While the results appeared definitive, John was a consummate perfectionist and proceeded to immerse the slide in a solution of KOH as well.
Say what?  Most communities have developed their own specialized language to describe things, events and actions specific to their fields.  The common term for this specialized language is jargon.
What jargon do we toss around on unsuspecting people we witness to?  In the case above, I’ve reverted back to my laboratory technician days and am describing a scene at a doctor’s office in which John, the doctor, tells Mary, the patient, that her throat swab has come back positive for strep throat.  The story also describes how John placed her swabbed specimen onto a slide and washed it in a solution of potassium hydroxide that is a common test to find fungal infections under a microscope.
What sorts of things do we as Christians say to non-believers that might confuse them?
What do we mean by the following:

Do you see what I mean?  What are we talking about when we mean saved?  Saved from what?  What is justification and whose Spirit are we talking about.  How do we receive a ghost?  Don’t they haunt old mansions?  Why would I want a ghost inside me anyway? What does baptism mean? Why should I be immersed in water anyway?  What is ‘pray through’ anyhow? What does holiness mean?
To regular churchgoers, the answers to the questions posed are self-evident.  To the un-saved, they only contribute to a feeling of confusion, and most people hate to feel confused.
When we witness to people we must ensure we are communicating on a level playing field.  Test your audience.  Seek recognition in their eyes.  If you’ve just told someone they ‘must be saved’ and you get a look like they are seeing right through you, or you see gears turning in their mind trying to figure out what you just said, be quick to add and expand to your statement with clarifying adjectives and adverbs until you see they understand what you are talking about.
Your testimony (another jargon word) is immensely helpful in this area.  Most of the time when people describe their salvation experience it is in language that nearly everyone can understand.  Use that testimony as a tool to transition from what you’ve experienced in your walk with God with what they can expect when they to start on that journey of the soul and spirit into communion with the Almighty.
Remember to:
  1. Use your testimony.
  2. Communicate verbally as well as non-verbally.
  3. Look for recognition in their eyes and other signs of feedback that they understand what you are saying.
  4. Try to rid your vocabulary of jargon when speaking to soon-to-be believers in Jesus Christ.
  5. Actions speak louder than words a lot of times.

Filed under: apologetics, general