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Christianese Slang

Christianese Slang

Christianese (or Bible-speak) refers to the contained terms and jargon used within the main branches and denominations of Christianity as a functional system of religious terminology. It is characterised by the use in everyday conversation of certain words, theological terms, and catchphrases, in ways that may be only comprehensible within the context of Christian belief.
Anointed: Chosen. Usually descriptive of a person, as in "Pastor Bob is a really anointed leader." Carries the meaning that someone is particularly well suited for a certain task or position while implying that God is responsible. Additional meanings include, blessed (see below), protected, or empowered. Many Christian groups do not use this term, but it is particularly common in Charismatic circles. In the Catholic Church, Anointing refers to the application of oils or unction for ceremonial purposes, such as the Anointing of the Sick, or the historical anointing of kings and emperors.
Backsliding: The actions of a Christian who seems to be losing their faith or behaving in an "un-Christian" manner. (Backslider.)
Blessed: A feeling of personal well-being, especially as connected with a casual religious experience or a religious interpretation of everyday experiences. In the Catholic Church, "blessed" refers to someone who has been beatified.
Blessed and highly favoured: A common reply to an inquiry of "how are you?", meant to imply that all is well and has been well; a reflection of one's personal standing with God, or a result of one's perceived status because of some religious affiliation or doctrinal adherence.
Brother: a fellow believer in Christ, shortened from the phrase brother in Christ. Often pluralized as brethren. In the plural there is no implication as to gender, but in the singular a female believer is generally called a sister. The mainstream colloquial use of the term brother to mean an African-American man probably derives indirectly from this usage. In the Catholic Church, a brother refers to a monk.
Blood, The: short for the blood of Christ (and by extension the atoning sacrifice of Christ) is sometimes used to mean the essence or spirit of Christ. One who is already saved depends on the Blood to keep him on the path of righteousness. The Blood, insofar as it refers to the death of Jesus, is also the mechanism of redeption and atonement. In the Catholic Church, the Blood of Christ refers to the physical manifestation (see transubstantiation) of Christ present in the Eucharist.
Born Again (can be used as a noun or an adjective): A Christian who has come to a belief in Christianity, especially evangelical Christianity, as an adult and has experienced a spiritual rebirth. May also refer to formerly liberal Christians who adopt evangelical Christianity. This terminology derives from a metaphor used by Jesus in his discussion with Nicodemus in John 3.
Discipleship or discipling: The process, normally understood as one-on-one, of a believer teaching another believer about the Christian life. In the Roman Catholic Church, this is called spiritual formation. See also Great Commission.
Exactness: Perfection in everyday life, adhering so strictly to Biblical laws and ethics as to do nothing that is not obedient to the will of God. This terminology is not used by all Christian groups; even some pietist groups do not use it.
Fellowship: A sense of belonging to a community, either within a specific church or within Christianity as a widespread religion. This can also refer to socializing exclusively with other Christians. Some individuals and groups consider such exclusivity to be an important factor in spiritual growth and/or righteousness. Fellowship is also used as a verb, meaning to spend time together with others.
Good News, The: Can refer to the Bible, the New Testament or the Gospels. Can also refer to the general Christian doctrine of personal salvation through belief in Jesus Christ's divinity and teachings. Good news is the literal meaning of gospel, an Old English word from the roots got (God) and spel (news). The gospel is specifically the message that Jesus Christ is God the Son who died for sins and rose from the grave, providing forgiveness and the gift of eternal life to all who trust in him to save them.
Lay hands on: Focused personal prayer for an individual, often sick or injured, where those present gather around and place their hands on the person's body during prayer. Derived from a command of Jesus in the Gospels. In the Catholic Church, the Laying on of Hands often accompanies religious rituals of cleansing. Persons unwittingly baptised by an imposter priest have historically been accepted into the Catholic Church simply by a Laying on of Hands.
Made right with God: Refers to the "reconciliation" of the believer with God. Can refer to an individual's initial religious conversion (see saved) or to a backslider's recovery of faith or principles.
Ministry: Not limited to those who are employed as pastors or church workers; expanded to include the compassionate interaction of Christian believers with those they care about and with their communities.
Mission: Christian activities which serve the church or the community. This can include "outreach", "servant-evangelism" or any other activity which seeks to interest non-believers in Christianity. A mission may also refer to an establishment to spread Christianity to native populaces under colonial rule.
On fire for God: Excited about Christianity, especially "outreach"
Outreach: The process of taking the Christian message to people who are not Christians, usually with the connotation of doing so through servant-evangelism-like activities.
Redeemed: The verb redeem is used in the sense of "purchase, ransom, rescue, free". The speaker believes that through his or her faith he or she has been "rescued" them from the spiritual consequences of their actions or previous lack of belief. This is a fairly close synonym for saved, above. The idea of purchase is most clearly reflected in the phrase Redeemed by the blood, which refers to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. Several popular hymns are built on this sense of the term.
Sanctified: The common dictionary definition is "to make holy or purify"; in Christianese this is usually applied to individuals rather than objects. Often a synonym for born again or saved.
Saved: Spared from the consequences of sin (i. e. Hell after death) by repentance and belief in Christ, submitting to him as Lord of one's life. Some Christians casually use "saved" as a synonym for "Christian".
Servant-Evangelism: Demonstrations of charity, either (1) organized, such as a free car-wash, or (2) individual, such as paying for a stranger's meal) in order to demonstrate Christian principles through actions, attempting to arouse spiritual curiosity.
Sharing: Sharing the Gospel, evangelism. Also simply imparting truth or passing on personal experience with God or Christian truth. When used as a noun (especially as the Sharing), the term refers to Communion in general and the love feast in particular.
Signs of the times: Current world events allegedly correlated with certain passages of the Bible (particularly the Book of Revelation), which are interpreted as prophecies indicating the second coming of Christ. See millennialism, dispensationalism, and Millarites.
Sister: a fellow believer in Christ, female. In the Catholic Church, sister refers to a nun.
Slain in the Spirit: An experience in which some Christians believe that the physical power of God causes people to fall to the ground. See laying on of hands. This is an important part of Pentecostal and Charismatic beliefs, but it is not included in the doctrine of many other denominations.
Unchurched: A controversial term in some churches (primarily Methodist and Wesleyan denominations) for those who are not saved. Critics allege that the term takes emphasis away from sin, applying it instead to chuch attendance.
Walk with God: The practice of applying Christian principles and beliefs to everyday life.
Witness or Witnessing: Telling someone how and why you are a Christian, generally on a one-to-one basis. Explaining the gospel and/or trying to persuade another person to believe it. See also Evangelism. Witness as a noun also refers to reputation, as in maintaining a respectable witness. The word testimony is also used in this way.
Vocation: In the Catholic church, a "vocation" is a calling to service, particularly a call to the clergy. The term is used in a similar manner in the Presbyterian Church, but generally refers to life calling in a broader sense: a person may have a vocation (spiritual calling) to be a minister, a teacher, construction worker, etc.