Why Are There Church Words?
I hope these church-related word definitions can help people find what Christians mean by those words, because so much truth is behind them. But many of these words set up the feeling of being trapped in a mysterious parallel universe. (I myself get such thoughts when someone says "God told me" (X-Files) or "The Spirit will convict you" (Law & Order).) The trouble is, non-Christians are not a part of that universe, so how can they come to grips with the Savior and His followers if we speak like that? Since we ourselves don't use these church terms outside of a churchly context, how can we even know what we're really saying? Do we really know the meaning?
A great blog entry on speaking in Christian-specific language is at David Cho's blog. Many of the terms listed below are technical words which, as he points out, are needed when among technicians. Others are a form of Christian jargon - Christianese - which like all slang is useful, to a point. This page is like a course, Church Words 101, on the faith's language. It's a dictionary that helps you sort out the more important Christian terms.
Ecclesiastical language often uses terms that were once in general use. At some point the public stopped using those terms, while the church in its churchly contexts kept using them. This is one of the causes of the gap between public and churchly language.
I ask any Christian who reads this glossary to please think before you use church words. It's far better to use terms that others won't have to look up on church-dictionary sites like this one. I hope these entries help you understand their meaning so you can accurately use the jargon in its rightful context, and use other ways to say or write it when speaking plain.
Does the language used by Christians and the Christian churches sound foreign to you? Then try these buttons for each term, and maybe you'll find them to be even stranger.... :)