The Meaning of Words

May 08, 2007

In a press release about comments by Hank Hanegraaff, head of the Christian Research Institute and host of "The Bible Answer Man" radio show, a couple of lines jumped out for me. Hanegraaff stated about Mormons:

They take our language but they pour their meanings into the words...Mormons do not believe that the Bible is the infallible repository for redemptive revelation.
What I found interesting was not his opinion about Mormons, but his recognition that one can use terms that sound good to people but actually meaning something completely different. He is correct. We must be careful to make sure we understand what people mean when they say something because we do not always use words the same way. However, it is kind of ironic that Hanegraaff then used a word that has been pretty much poured of its meaning--"infallible." Espicially among Southern Baptists this term, and its cousin "inerrant," has little real meaning but instead has become nothing more than a political weapon. As Grady Cothen stated in the May 2007 issue of Baptists Today:
And I would guess three-quarters of the brethren out there don't understand there are at least eight or nine descriptions of inerrancy. ... It is definitely a code word and has been from the beginning. Are you an inerrantist? Well, which definition of inerrancy do you use?
It is no wonder we often talk around each other when we use the same words but with different meanings.

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