Perhaps this tirade would have been less startling if it had come from a non-Christian, but I was shocked to come across the following words on the blog of Indiana mega-pastor Tim Stevens.
“I’ve recently noticed that I’m becoming more annoyed by the word “saved” than ever before. Not in the ‘I saved money’ use of the word, but in the Christian-ese context: ‘Is Johnny saved?’ or ‘It’s only a matter of time until Martha gets saved.’ It’s not that I don’t understand the context: Yes, I realize we sometimes need words to describe life after meeting Jesus. And of course, I agree with its’ premise that there is something that is different about a person after they cross the line of the faith. It’s just the actual word that annoys me.”
Even further alarming was the overwhelmingly positive feedback he received from those who read his comments.
“I hardly ever use that term for the same reasons. We use terms like ‘surrendering my life to Jesus’ or ‘becoming a follower of Jesus.’”
“I hate the word. I don’t hate many things, but some of the Christian buzzwords we use just don’t make a lot of sense in communicating the love of God. Saved and lost are two of those words. With my students I refer to our ‘walk with God‘ (or being saved) as a ‘faith journey’. It is a continual process that must be worked out daily.”
If Stevens has a problem with the positive “salvation” end of Christianity he really must lose sleep over the contrasting dynamic of being “lost.” And if we are so bothered by being saved, how do we explain Jesus’ use of the word damnation in contrast to the word “saved” in Mark 16:16. If we omit the word “saved” do we also omit God’s grace from our life?
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Something in our spirit is adrift when we can freely use words such as “annoying” or “hate” to refer to biblical language.
When we start hearing changes in our church lingo, perhaps it’s a good idea to see what we may be replacing. I love identifying myself as a Christ Follower, but not at the expense of being a Salvation Receiver. Once I was Lost!