Evangelicals & Linguistic Stability
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. (ESV, Proverbs 14:1)
But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (ESV Luke 12:20)
You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (ESV, Matthew 22:33)
The Year 2020 continues not to be one that will not disappoint. We have long experienced the Gender Revolution, the Authority Revolution in the 1960s, the Sexual Revolution. The newest domino to fall is apparently the Linguistic Revolution. Like other human enterprise dimensions, society depends upon a stable linguistic structure to ensure human flourishing. Words do indeed evolve and change in nuance and subtlety , but the change in nuance and subtlety is over some time with an emphasis on over time.
But this past week, we witnessed the fluidity of word meaning transform as never before in human history. During the Amy Barrett hearing, Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono took exception to Judge Barrett’s use of the phrase sexual preference. I will not delve into the merits of such an objection. But suffice to say I regard the Senator’s attempt at rebuke of Judge Barrett to be a desperate attempt at smearing the Judge’s good name. Thankfully, the Senator’s ploy apparently did not gain much traction with thinking and cogent Americans.
Instead, I want to respond to the immediate response of Merriam Webster, the long-tenured and respected Dictionary many Americans rely upon to understand the meaning and spelling of different words. It would require a significant change in some cultural conditions to affect the change in the definition of a given word in the past. This week we now realize that was then and this is now.
By the Grace of God, at least from this author’s perch, many savvy individuals in America immediately noted the change at Webster’s. I would submit Webster was almost certainly directly responding to Sen. Hirono’s national lament. Some were quick to point out that the Wayback Machine, a website that archives internet webpages, indicated that as recently as September 28th, Webster’s definition of “preference” in regard to sexual orientation did not have the word “offensive” attached to it.
But here, on National TV, where the Senator deftly understood the radical left who are pushing this revolution were acutely taking notice. We had Senator Hirono chastising Judge Barrett for her use of “offensive” and “outdated” terms directed at the LBGTQ community.
My fellow Evangelicals, this is just have fast we are seeing the secular elites demand capitulation to their agenda. Literally, in a span of half a day, we have Webster’s Dictionary bow the knee to their secular’s demand. The cultural elites are allowed to change the meaning of a word, not based on some accepted culture change that takes place organically.
No, all it takes is a Senator decreeing it to be so on National TV. Before the day set, a prominent American institution readily acquiesced on demand. I believe this is further proof of the moral insanity of our day. I do not share the optimism of many in the Evangelical community. I posit we will continue to see America slide further and further in the moral abyss.
Adopting such a worldview is not a sign of surrender and resignation. It is my honest assessment of the arch of history the Word of God reveals within it sacred writings that are to take place as we draw closer and closer to the return of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
All one has to do is see how our culture seemingly goes out of their way to appease those demanding a total capitulation of logic, reason, and temperance. We have two competing worldviews 1) Conservatives who are trying to conserve the good, the beautiful, and the true
2) Progressives who are demanding the good, beautiful, and the true of yesterday are outdated and no longer necessary for human flourishing.
In justification of the abrupt change in the understanding of the term “preference,” read the words of an official from Webster
The dictionary is continually revised and updated, and Merriam-Webster makes scheduled changes several times a year to add or update words and their definitions and uses, Peter Sokolowski, the dictionary’s editor at large, said in a statement.
From time to time, we release one or some of these scheduled changes early when a word or set of words is getting extra attention, and it would seem timely to share that update,” Sokolowski said.
Just as Evangelicals rightly believe in absolute truth, we understand the necessity for words to maintain a basic consistency level over a long duration. Yes, terms do change over time, but the key is they change over time. Yes, time is a fluid concept, so it is not fixed, but words cannot change on a dime.
No one person, not a U.S. Senator, not POTUS, no person, no matter their station in life, should be able to radically change our meaning of a word in the span of less than one day. If this becomes the staple of life, then we have nothing less than mass chaos.
Meaningful communication would be nearly impossible as there would no longer remain a universally agreed-upon standard for the meaning of words. A term could mean one thing in the AM portion of a day-long event, and based on some objection of an attendee, the gatekeepers change the meaning before the end of the same day. Pure, unmitigated intellectual insanity, right before our very eyes. All committed in vain and utterly failed worldview pursuit for progression. I, for one, say thanks, but no thanks, very much!
Could you imagine a young student attempting to learn to read and write in such a malleable educational environment? Could you imagine two countries trying to understand one another, not even accounting for the possible language barrier, which is problematic enough?
The secular elite’s demand to extinguish words they find subjectively offensive would make the ability to execute commerce problematic. Evangelical’s ability to speak meaningfully about spiritual matters with their unsaved neighbors would be severely impacted
The three passages that begin this blog post use stark and direct word which had a particular meaning of that day, both understood by the sender and the receiver. I would submit no one delights in being called a “fool” but communication is not dependent on the worldview of Burger King. Remember, one of Burger King’s popular mantra was “Have it your way.” If we allow the Sen. Hironos of the world they would turn our beloved country in a communication Swiss Cheese of linguistic malaise.
These are unnecessary intrusions on the typical day to day speech necessary to effectively communicate with one another. Webster Dictionary has served us well throughout the years. Almost every American educated in the U.S. Education system has both utilized and benefitted from the Webster Dictionary’s ubitiquous presence.
Thus, the blog article does not have as its objective the elimination of Webster from America’s educational framework. No, that would be an extreme overreaction. My only desire is for Webster not to allow itself to be a pawn of the ideological war taking place right before our very eyes.
Let there be no mistake whatsoever, my brother and sisters in arms, there is a battle for Americans’ collective soul’s brewing, and it will not relent or dissipate. It will only increase in fervor and frequency. As one of my spiritual mentors, Dr. Albert Mohler, is fond of saying. It is not a matter of if; it is only a matter of when.
Let me know what you think. Until then, I exhort you to keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.