For some reason, using the language of the Bible as given to us by God (as long as it is accurately translated) just isn’t enough for some people. They like to create their own pet terms and ideas, perhaps in the hopes of coining a new phrase? getting their sound bite recognizes by their peers? copyrighting the terms to make bank? I don’t really know the reason. But I feel led to use this blog to warn my brothers and sisters against what I call “pseudo-spiritual buzz words”. I say pseudo and not super for a reason. While pseudo-spiritual buzz words are by nature super spiritual (or at least are created by the super or overly spiritual), “super” in this context doesn’t portray what I feel is the right level of disdain.
“Pseudo-” is an ancient Greek prefix that means false. We see its use, for example, in words like pseudonym, or false name. But we also see its use in the Greek text of the New Testament in words like pseudoprofetes, or false prophet. That’s what I’m after with my use of pseudo to describe these words. I want them, in the mind of the reader, to be categorized with false prophets, false brethren, false apostles, false Christs, and etc.
That seems pretty harsh, doesn’t it? But there is a reason I’m taking such a hard-line stance. Words have meaning and they have power. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. The words we speak can be spirit and life, bringing about a positive transformation in the listener, or they can be cruel and mocking, and utterly, psychologically destroy someone. These pseudo-spiritual buzz words are dangerous, if embraced. They take a believer’s faith out of the Bible and put it into the carnal mind of the one utilizing the buzz word.
Does this mean that every single time these words are used, the person behind their usage is some wicked transgressor intent on injuring the flock of the Lord? No, I don’t think so. Nevertheless, we need to guard ourselves. It is already too easy to reduce the importance and relevance of many of the various topics and concepts found in the Word of God. We don’t need to add to that ease by embracing and using extra-Biblical terminology, which, admittedly, sounds spiritual (and that’s the problem right there: these words sound spiritual, and so, make the users feel and believe themselves to be spiritual, when they might not be anything of the sort).
So with this all in mind, I want to share an in-exhaustive list of what I consider to be pseudo or falsely spiritual buzz words (in no particular order).
(Please keep in mind that I am not attacking anyone for their use. I am attacking the words themselves. If you use them, I don’t dislike you. But I encourage you to refrain from using them while also exhorting you to seek to use correct Biblical terminology.)
There is nothing inherently wrong with this word. It’s as good as any other word, and in fact, can perfectly encapsulate proper meaning. We’re all on a journey, after all, right?
But beware the context. I have seen time and again, when someone speaks of how they moved away from an orthodox Christian faith, to heterodoxy, that someone often comes along and says something like the following:
“I’m on a similar journey.”
“Interesting. I would love to know more about your journey…”
This is perilous territory. What’s really being said is, “I backslid, too” or “I would love to know more about your backsliding”. But notice how journey makes it sound spiritual, as if the person is on some poignant, life adventure deepening their walk with God when in reality they are doing anything but?
There is such a thing as “another Gospel“, “another Jesus“, and “another Spirit” (Galatians 1:7-9 and 2 Corinthians 11:14). These other versions are condemned and accursed. They are false. And so is the word journey, when used this way.
Don’t get me wrong. Like journey, it’s as good as any other word. Denotatively, it means “of or pertaining to the Apostles, especially in doctrine, manner, and lifestyle”. This is a good thing!
So what’s the problem? Follow along:
When you start hearing preachers and other higher ups constantly and only talking about things like “apostolic doctrine”, “apostolic identity”, “apostolic holiness”, “apostolic authority” and etc., you’re finding yourself in, dare I say it, cultish territory (Don’t hate me just yet!).
There is something really wrong with refusing to use the word Christian, in reference to doctrine, lifestyle, holiness, and power, like it’s somehow not good enough to describe what we believe, what we live, what we practice, and how we operate.
But using “apostolic” makes it sound more spiritual, more set-apart, more distinct, more intrinsically apostle-esque. We’ve got such an inferiority complex. Listen, no one group has the corner market on the word Christian. We can use it, too, without compromise. We shouldn’t let another group co-opt Biblical language (Note, too, how Oneness Pentecostals don’t have the corner market on the word apostolic. That right belongs to the Holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Church).
As great and as necessary as the Apostles were and are, they were not and are not Jesus Christ. Some say they are of Paul, some of Apollos, others of Cephas (1 Corinthians 1:12). All were and are Apostles. But when it comes to our doctrine, identity, holiness, and authority, it is always and only “of and pertaining to Jesus Christ”.
3.) Spirit of…
This one might be my favorite to pick on. It’s so common. All the time we hear how there is a “spirit of liberty” or a “spirit of impartation”, or a “spirit or praise”, “spirit of renewal” or what-have-you. There are only four kinds of spirits, Biblically speaking. The Spirit of God/Christ, angelic spirits, evil spirits (i.e. demons and/or the spirit of antichrist) and human spirits. The Discerning of Spirits, a sorely lacking charismata in the church world today, will not let someone discern a “spirit of” apart from these four.
Listen, I know what people mean when they use such phraseology. But why can’t they just say what they mean, AND STAY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE WORD, instead of conjuring up a more “spiritual” sounding idea? If there is liberty in and among God’s people, it’s because the Spirit of the Lord is present, not because some random, undefinable “spirit of liberty” is present. Mark the difference.
4.) Bind and Loose
Ever hear someone yell into a microphone the following words:
“I bind every evil spirit that would come against this church and loose the mighty angels of God…” or some such similar thing? How about “I loose apostolic authority…”?
What a bunch of nonsense. Speaking something forcefully with conviction doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Binding and loosing usually only has to do with church discipline in the realm of reconciling or ex-communicating a member of an assembly (See Matthew 18:15-20). Additionally, any other binding and loosing begins and ends with eternal salvation and building the kingdom of God through soul conversion (Matthew 16:18-19). More than this is pseudo-spiritual. It sounds neat, and makes a person feel special when they say it, but it doesn’t mean anything.
Nowadays, everything is anointed. From preaching to singing, to the microphone, to whatever. Am I against the anointing God can and does place upon people? No. But note that, in the New Covenant, the anointing is placed upon people, not upon intangible, inanimate objects or ideas (this isn’t the OT tabernacle, after all). The preaching wasn’t anointed, the preacher was. See the difference?
Additionally, here is a simple proof that the way “anointed” is used by the church world at large is pseudo-spiritual. Just use its denotative meaning and see what happens:
- “Wow! That song was smeared with oil!”
- “What a smeared with oil sermon.”
- “I’ve never heard such a smearing with oil on a keyboard before.”
- “He/she was praying with such a smearing of oil…”
Pretty dumb, isn’t it? Compare that to:
- “This church is smeared with oil (i.e. anointed).”
- “The preacher was greatly smeared with oil (i.e. anointed).”
- “Because the sister is so smeared with oil (i.e. anointed), every time she sings, the presence of God manifests.”
- “I felt a smearing of oil come over me (i.e. an anointing)…”
These might, at first, sound just as silly. But they are not. These are legitimate, Biblical uses of the word. Here, the symbolism behind what it means to be “smeared with oil” comes across. Being anointed means the Spirit of the Living God has come down and upon a person, to choose, commission, and endow that person with a uniquely qualified right and power to operate and minister in some particular fashion. Songs, sermons, keyboards, prayers, and the like, don’t and can’t have this.
Well, if I didn’t lose you on Apostolic, I fear I might lose you here. But please read on before you dismiss this.
Like the word anointed, which is over-used and misunderstood, the word pastor is likewise over-used and misunderstood. Anyone and everyone that has some position in the church gets called pastor these days. There are A/V pastors, Family Ministry pastors, pastors of the usher department, and etc. Pastor, as a word in the church, has become a catch-all to describe just about anyone and anything ministry related. This is a gross mis-use of the term.
A pastor is someone who cares for and tends the flock of God, especially new converts. They do not care for and tend a sound booth! Further, as with anointed, the word pastor has a very specific denotative meaning, that, if used, proves that “pastor”, unfortunately, has become just as much as a pseudo-spiritual buzz word as any of the others. Note:
Pastor is a synonym for shepherd. Sounds good, so far. But what is a shepherd? A shepherd is merely one who herds sheep, i.e. a sheep-herder. Do we now go about calling everyone with the title pastor “sheep-herder”? Imagine it, “Hello, my name is Aaron. I’m the sheep-herder of Spirit of the Anointed Journey Apostolic Church.” Of course, we don’t. But why? Because pastor sounds nicer. Sheep-herder sounds crude, even rude. But “pastor” is flowery, even spiritual sounding. It has a ring to it that a mere herder of sheep will never have.
I’m not against the word pastor. It has a Biblical use. But let’s get realistic. I am not a pastor, have never held the title, and do not consider myself, in terms of the ascension gifts of Christ, to be a pastor. And yet, at various times, someone inevitably calls me “pastor” because I hold a place in ministry. It’s like none of the other words found in the Bible to describe God’s servants are good enough (e.g. elder, deacon, teacher, and etc.).
We feel too comfortable using the word. We say things like “My pastor preached a sermon called…”, or “We should call pastor first…”, or “That’s not what my pastor teaches…”, and etc. Imagine exchanging the word pastor for, I don’t know, say, prophet”.
- My prophet preached a sermon called…
- We should call prophet first…
- That’s not what my prophet teaches…
Now it doesn’t sound so good, does it? It sounds just a little bit creepy, almost bordering on idolatry. No one likes the idea of having a “personal prophet” and yet, for all intents and purposes, we have “personal pastors” everywhere, and no one bats an eye. Weird. Maybe we need to rethink this? Some people even use the word pastor in place of a man’s first name, to the point of basically calling their elder the equivalent of father (I had a conversation with a devout catholic who used to do this all the time. “Father said…” or “Father recommended…” and etc. It’s the same thing, folks).
So, let’s just rein it in a bit, shall we. Being a bonafide pastor is spiritual enough. We don’t have to make it (or the people who are) more spiritual.
7.) Decree, Release, Double, and Portion
Oh, boy. You’d think I was kidding, or just being mean. Think again! :)
Read it and weep:
Lord we agree in Jesus Name for the continue [sic] of Apostolic formation of the worldwide network of Apostles and Prophets. Continue to establish your Kingdom in the hearts of your people thru [sic] the structure of the Five Fold Ministry. Raise and release your Apostles to first Awaken and then Activate the Five Fold Ministry in the Body of Christ. Then Orient and Position these Ministries to posses [sic] and take new territories . I decree the prophetic word for 2014 in the manifestation of Double Portion which includes the release of Double Blesssing [sic] and Double Anointing as well as all things multiplied in your kingdom! 2014 is Decreed as a Year of the Double Portion!
A word for word, copied from the very blog, quote of a famous, self-proclaimed “prophet of the nations” and “apostle” in the Oneness movement. Do I even have to comment, or can you see it for yourself? In case not, I submit the following video for your consideration:
What does this all come down to?
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would testify or bear witness of Him. By the eternal desire of God the Father, Christ is to be glorified by His people. This use of pseudo-spiritual language sadly, only glorifies the user, by making him or her sound special or unique. Whenever and wherever a person cannot or will not use Biblical language to describe the things of God, but instead resorts to humanly, carnally constructed words and phrases, you can rest assured you’re hearing someone not sufficiently grounded and rooted in the truth. Either through copy-cat ignorance, or an inability (through flesh or will) to submit to the Word, saints of God the world over have embraced this kind of deceptive speech. And we’re just going right along with it like every thing’s fine. It’s not. When we change the vocabulary, it’s not long before we change the MESSAGE the vocabulary is based on in order to make sense of the new vocabulary.
There is nothing new under the sun. This was happening back in the earliest centuries of the faith. But someone somewhere needs to take a stand. Hopefully, I have done somewhat of my part through this blog. I hope you will do your part, too.
Peace and God bless,