Same Terms, Different Meanings


A common trend today is using similar terms, but meaning something quite different. We see this across many different spectrums in society as well as with ministries and churches. This is especially dangerous when it happens with ministries and churches because the deception that lies beneath can ultimately lead one to apostasy. We must be careful not to accept things as being “Christian” just because someone is using Christian terminology.

The reason I feel it necessary to address this issue is because it seems many are being led astray thinking what they are hearing and embracing is the Truth. This danger is becoming more and more widespread that we must take the time to “do our homework” and search everything out carefully. On the surface, everything may sound good, but at a deeper look, we may find things to be quite different.

I have been found guilty of this at times as well. I have trusted people and ministries blindly without really understanding who they were or what they were about. The biggest reality of this was when I was involved in helping to start a house of prayer here in Denver. After hearing about the International House of Prayer (IHOP), based out of Kansas City, I was excited to supplement the house church that I was already a part of with seeing prayer and worship become more of a lifestyle for us all. After going to IHOP-KC a few times and beginning to see things that I was greatly uncomfortable with, I began digging deeper to understand more of what they were about. The more I found out, the more problems I had with many of the things that were being done to be unbiblical. Ultimately, I realized that I could not continue with starting the Denver House of Prayer because what I had thought we were doing was no where near what I thought we were doing; simply a place of prayer and worship.

This is by no means the only example of those using the same Christian terminology, but meaning different things. Take a look around and you will see from one extreme to the other, people will use the same words, but mean something drastically different. From the emergent/emerging movement, to whole denominations, to authors, pastors, and prominent church leaders, people seem to package things that are very appealing and sound Biblical, but are no where near the Truth. Many times, they will take a passage from the Bible, most likely out of context, to prove some point while cloaked in Christian words. It seems so many are Biblically illiterate that when something sounds good and fits with what we want to believe, we grasp on to it whether or not it is really true.

I share my experience as an example, because the Lord used it in powerful way to get my attention that not all I encounter or that seems true is really Biblical. I am grateful that even though I bought into this for a short time, the Lord opened my eyes that I must be careful to question everything I hear boldly and without shame. I must spend the time to discern carefully what is being proclaimed and believed and even more those that I trust to be telling the Truth. Through all of this, I have gained a whole new appreciation for God’s Word and a deeper awareness of what I may be involved with, who I trust, and what I promote. May we all be more diligent to check everything out as we seek to walk daily with the Lord in Truth.