[forthright] Digital?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2010 05:35:21 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
Straight to the Cross

When troubles come, no one knows better than Job. 'In
Search of Perfection: Studies from Job,' by Michael E.
Brooks. Click here:


 by Michael E. Brooks

"Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure
heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,
from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to
idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law,
understanding neither what they say nor the things
which they affirm" (1 Timothy 1:5-7 NKJV).

On a recent trip to northern Bangladesh we fell in
behind a bus and noticed an unusual description -
"Digital bus." My companions in the van discussed what
could be "digital" about an ordinary looking beat up
Bangla bus.

Just a few minutes later we were stopped in traffic at
an intersection. A vendor came to our window, trying to
sell us handcrafted baskets and other novelties.

On his head was a stack of woven cane hats which he
pointed to when I would not buy any of the other
merchandise. After my first refusal he pointed to the
hats again, smiled broadly and said, "Digital."

It is not unusual here in South Asia to find English
advertising which uses words in strange ways. After all
English is not commonly spoken; even those who have
studied it to some degree often have minimum

Names are chosen for their sound, or faddish
popularity, not because they are fitting to a
particular application. Adjectives may be wildly
mismatched to corresponding nouns.

This practice is relatively harmless and even amusing
in the context of billboards, buses and street vendors.
But in other arenas such misuse of language can be
exceedingly harmful.

In the text at the beginning of this article, Paul
describes a loss of faith which resulted from idle talk
and careless use of language. Just because they loved
to talk about things which they did not understand,
some were led completely away from their belief in the

Peter exhorts, "If any man speaks, let him speak as the
oracles of God" ( 1 Peter 4:11). I have often applied
that statement to preaching and teaching on religious

Peter does not necessarily restrict his command in this
way. We are to be careful of every word we speak, using
our tongues and language to honor God and serve

There is considerable emphasis in the New Testament on
the importance of every word we speak, and the
necessity of using care in our language.

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but
what is good for necessary edification" ( Ephesians

"Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse
jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of
thanks" (Ephesians 5:4).

"These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to
their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words,
flattering people to their own advantage" (Jude 16).

"Nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which
cause disputes rather than godly edification which is
in faith" (1 Timothy 1:4).

When a street vendor or sales person in Bangladesh uses
an English word he does not really understand, no harm
may be done. When Christian people use words
incorrectly, without proper understanding, the result
may be corruption of doctrine and loss of faith.

Our predecessors in the Restoration heritage correctly
insisted, "let us speak where the Bible speaks and be
silent where the Bible is silent. 

Let us call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible 
things in Bible ways." Or, more Scripturally, let us 
speak as the oracles of God.

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