This time though, I want to take a bit of a different tack on my writing regarding this book. You see, I was recently reminded of a quote from Jonathan’s dad, former Southern Baptist Convention President Dr. James Merritt, that I had heard about a year ish before I found how awesome Jonathan himself was when I read his 2012 book A Faith of Our Own. This particular line actually speaks to the discussion Jonathan has in Learning to Speak God From Scratch, and is:
The Church can influence the nation more through supplication than the Congress can through legislation.
Now, Jonathan doesn’t discuss the word “supplication” in this book. But this is where it gets interesting… because he *does* discuss “prayer“, and Merriam-Webster defines “supplication” as “to make a humble entreaty; especially : to pray to God“. So “supplication” is just fancy Christian speak for… prayer.
Another term Dr. Merritt likes to use in his sermons is “justification“. Again, Jonathan never has a chapter devoted to that particular word. But “justification” means “the act, process, or state of being justified by God“, and Jonathan *does* devote chapters to words like “God“, “Sin“, “Lost“, and “Confession“.
Still another term you’ll often hear Jonathan’s dad use is “sanctification“. And yet again, Jonathan never uses that word as the basis of a chapter in this book. But it means “the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion“, and Jonathan devotes chapters to words like “Grace“, “Mystery“, “Brokenness“, and “Neighbor“.
Indeed, the entire point of this experiment in learning to speak God from scratch is to take the everyday Christian terms like “lost” and “creed” and “pride” and use them to unpack their truths and help us understand better both these words themselves and the more theologically-oriented “cation” words. And in so doing, Jonathan has created quite possibly one of the defining works in seeking to bridge the conversation gap between Christians and non-Christians.
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