It’s not our truth

The truth of the gospel is for everyone, therefore we must write so everyone can understand.

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The gospel has been around a long time, but has not grown old. It is as alive and relevant as it ever was, but some of what has been written to expound the truth has rather served to obscure it. The answer is not to update the language we use to describe the truth, for today’s language will soon be outdated. Our task is to make our language clear and plain, to remove all that is cloudy or confusing. The plain and simple truth never goes out of style.

That means we must seek to master the language in which we write. By that I do not mean that we need to learn how to use big words. When we understand what a big word means, we can usually find a smaller and more powerful word to use in its place. Most of the time, adverbs and adjectives are mere decoration, more distraction than enhancement.

Avoid insider language: words and slogans that are understood by those of us who are inside, but are bafflegab to those who are outside.

Don’t borrow lessons from Buddhism or psychology to explain the gospel. They don’t fit. Such examples can be used to show how all people are searching for the answers that the gospel provides. The apostle Paul used an example from the Olympic games of his day, then said “Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1 Corinthians 9:25).

Avoid sounding superior. We profess the gospel, but we don’t possess it. It is not a family heirloom or a cultural artifact of our ethnicity. It was given to us upon our confession that our lives were hopeless and useless without it. Our understanding of the gospel was learned one little piece at a time, often reluctantly. Sharing those experiences points others to God, not ourselves.

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