Redundant Redundancies

One of Francis Schaeffer’s contributions to the Church (and there are many) is the phrase “true truth.” When he wants to distinguish between what the world calls truth and the absolute truth of God, he uses that term. You cannot read a Francis Schaeffer book without coming across the term. And you cannot read an Edith Schaeffer book without seeing the phrase another dozen times.

Now I am a fan of Francis Schaeffer. I applaud his contributions. But I abhor the term “true truth.”

To me it highlights a problem among Christians: the problem of being redundant. We use so many redundant redundancies that we are in danger of eliminating or abandoning the meaning of perfectly good words.

Why can’t a Christian be a Christian? Why does he have to be a born-again Christian? Aren’t all Christians born again, according to Scripture? And why does a born-again Christian have to be an evangelical Christian? According to my Funk and Wagnalls, evangelical is an adjective “of, relating to, contained in, or in harmony with the New Testament, especially the Gospels.” That seems to me to be a definition of a Christian if I ever heard one.

And how about charismatic Christians? According to my understanding of spiritual gifts (charisma), all believers have at least one spiritual gift whether we’re evangelical, born-again, or just plain run-of-the-mill Christians. So all of us are charismatics. But now some of us can’t call ourselves charismatics even if we are because the term has been taken away from us by redundant redundanters.

If the trend continues, we’ll find ourselves describing real sin as sin-sin. (Isn’t that a breath freshener … or a federal penitentiary?) An individual person will have a born-again conversion experience, ...

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