Christianese or Faithspeak

‘Bless you sister’, ‘It’s well’, ‘God is in control’. You probably might have heard these phrases or used them recently. These phrases and the like have become synonymous with Christians. Christian lingo or Christianese as some have called it are phrases that have come to be associated with Christians or Christianity. Its growth has somewhat been buoyed by an increased understanding of faith and the call to confess God’s word and speak positively. Several of these clichés have even found their way into the social and business world. I once heard a governor of one of the Northern states in Nigeria admonish cattle rustlers to become born again – trying to get them to change their ways.Mic

We know that the words of our mouths are very powerful, thus we have become more careful with the things we say, trying hard to make sure our words are largely positive. Once, someone was about entering an elevator going to the ground floor and asked the fellow he met in the lift if she was going down. The person quickly shot back, ‘I am not going down in Jesus name’. I can imagine the lady saying in her mind, ‘I beg, don’t curse me’.

Sometimes, Christianese phrases like ‘Praise the Lord’ or ‘Halleluyah’ are used as opening statements in noisy places to get people’s attention. Christianese has also taken a hit on not a few occasions. My pastor told me of a funeral he had to officiate some time ago (I tell you that is difficult). Trying to comfort the bereaved family, he said, ‘It is well’ and someone quickly retorted, ‘It is not well’.

Then there is also the abuse or misuse of Christian phrases or words associated with the Christian faith. For example, I heard a part of a song which said, ‘Maga don pay, shout Halleluyah’. Loosely translated it means ‘the deceived fellow has paid me the money, shout Halleluyah’. I find it ridiculous that Halleluyah, that expression of praise that means the same thing in every language, would be so unrighteously paired.

Also you hear people say such things like ‘I am strong’ when they feel a little under the weather. And when we try to politely respond, saying sorry, they say, ‘thank you’. This doesn’t add up. Why should I say sorry if you are indeed strong and why should you say thank you if you are strong? It would appear the state of weakness is being admitted, negating the earlier declaration. I think a better response should be ‘Don’t say sorry to me, I told you I am strong’. Funny right? Interestingly, when we get to the hospital, we tell the doctor exactly how we feel and forget the ‘I am strong’ song. I believe it is a declaration of faith to say, I am not feeling too good but I am already healed in Jesus’ name. It’s okay to say, ‘I ain’t got much cash now but God is supplying every need of mine. Yes, I am rich in Jesus name’. Faith doesn’t deny the situation, it declares the facts.

Our words carry the power and life of the Spirit when they bubble out of a heart yielded to the Holy Spirit. So it would be good to focus on the condition of our hearts. We should deal with the habits, weights and sins that we would hide behind our backs if we were standing before our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Then, with a surrendered heart, we can speak with a confidence that stems from the tree of faith and have in our hands the things we declare. It is interesting how yielding brings confidence and surrendering brings authority. But that is the dynamics of the Christian life for you. Then, it wouldn’t matter if you call it ‘Christianese’ or faith words. They would be words of power producing the things we speak.


I made a trip by air recently. Shortly before takeoff, I called my wife to tell her we would soon be airborne. Fifty-five minutes later, we landed and I switched on my phone to let her know that I had arrived at my destination. Okay, let’s do some time travel to the recent past.
Once upon a time, the conventional way of non-verbal communication was by sending letters via the public postal services (now called snail mail). Letters could take a couple of days depending on the distance between both parties. So, for example, when children left home for school, possibly by road, they would write a letter back home to tell their parents they had arrived safely in school. Parents would look forward to those precious mails from the postman bringing the cheery news of safe arrival at school. They practically had no better means of communication. When telephone landlines became available, travelers would look for any available one to let their folks know they had arrived safely. This was not always immediately possible on arrival, probably because the queues at the phone booths were long, the network was congested or the network was totally out for hours. Anyway, people still managed to wait patiently for those calls from their loved ones. Then mobile phones became common place. Everybody is supposed to have at least one, so you make your calls immediately you arrive. Now there is a problem! People estimate trips and know when you are supposed to arrive and so when that call is not received, they become worried and even more agitated when they try to reach you and cannot get through. Now, how come it was easier for people to wait patiently for those snail mails or even the calls from phone booths, believing all was well and we get so worried these days when there is some silence for a few hours? People could wait in those days without expecting the worst but now the mind goes to work mischievously when there is a little delay. Maybe one of the reasons is the accelerated rate we live our lives these days. The information age thrives on the speed of dissemination of information and changes take place at paces much faster than we sometimes can keep up with. Nowadays, you can stay connected all through your trip and even relieve your experiences along your journey in real time to people thousands of miles away. So have our technological advancements aided our faith life or killed it? Our faith and confidence in God’s goodness, mercies and protection should not waiver under any circumstance. We can trust God more deeply and hang on tenaciously to His faithfulness in spite of whatever.
Next time there is a delay in an expectation, believe God that all is well and that you would still get the best after all. Let not your heart be worried and be anxious for nothing (John 14:1; Phil 4:6).
Let nothing, not even modern day advancements erode our sincere love for God or shake our absolute faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His power. What shall separate us from the love of God or our faith in Him? Not the breadth of knowledge nor the depths or heights of scientific accomplishments in our world(Rom 8:35-39).
Just as the heavens declare the glory of God and inspire praise, let the wonders of science and technology around us inspire worship, faith and love for God (Psalm 19:1). Selah