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Understanding leads to salvation
Brad Butler
Pastor Brad Butler, First Baptist Church, Pembroke

The headline read, “Brady 8 for 10 when targeting Gronk.” Most football fans would understand that the moment they read it. But what if you had never seen a football game? What if you had just learned the English language? What kind of questions might you have?

Well, who is Brady? What is a Gronk? Why would Brady target a Gronk and, quite frankly, with what is he targeting it? And what
is the math involved? What does 8 for 10 mean?

Well, if you’re not a football fan, I will explain. Brady plays quarterback. Gronk is the nickname for his favorite receiver, Rob Gronkowski. Brady threw the ball to Gronkowski 10 times, and eight times Gronk caught it. It’s simple really — if you are initiated.

Every discipline has its own language. Doctors use big terms like hematoma to tell us we have a bruise. Lawyers speak in “legalese.” Sometimes, I think that is simply to keep the rest of us in the dark.

Even theologians use words that serve no purpose but to make them feel important. I was once sitting in a doctoral seminar when a student spoke of a “pericope.” I had no idea what that was. Turns out he was speaking of a text.

My thought was simple: Why not just call it a “text”?

I am reminded that even in the church, we use language that is special to us, but perhaps could be misunderstood by others. Now, I am not saying that we should dispense with words like “salvation,” “redemption,” “Trinity” or “atonement.” They are all essential to who we are. But we need to do a good job explaining these words. We should not leave people to guess.

That responsibility falls especially on pastors like me. It is our job to explain what the Bible says and what it means. But others in the church need to help us in this work. Teachers, deacons and leaders of all ministries and programs need to have a basic understanding of our faith.

Paul wrote, “Study to show yourself approved” to Timothy, a young pastor. But that message is applicable to every believer. As we prepare to enter the new year, I offer you this challenge. Study the Bible. Learn its themes and message. Be able to share them with others. God can use you to make a change in someone’s life if you will.

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