A Lesson in Synonyms

Postmodern does not equal relativist.

Modern does not equal christian.

Truth does not equal certainty.

Mystery does not equal doubt.

Inerrant does not equal exact.

Narrative does not equal fable.

Missional does not equal social gospel.

Inclusion does not equal pluralism.

Justice does not equal democrat.

Christian does not equal republican.

Your thoughts?


31 thoughts on “A Lesson in Synonyms

  1. Prosperity does not equal health and wealth.

    Calamity does not equal God’s wrath.

    Bigger does not equal better.

    Kingdom does not equal heaven.

    Coffee in the lobby does not equal fellowship.

    God’s knowledge does not equal God’s determination.

  2. Good stuff. I like the others additions also.

    Right doctrine does not equal spiritual depth.

    Regarding “Truth does not equal certainty,” I understand where this is coming from, but it is not always so. The resurrection is a truth that is certain.

  3. great list! i’ve seen many like it and can’t disagree with any point made. but these lists just don’t strike at the root of the problem. just because we make them and say x isn’t y doesn’t mean people stop belieiving these things are true. that’s the real thing we need to deal with and i have yet to see anyone tackle that. can’t wait till i do.

    thanks for continuing to speak the truth though.

  4. Literal does not equal factual.

    Gossip does not equal prayer request.

    Criticism does not equal critique.

    Intelligence does not equal wisdom.

    Title does not equal leadership.

    Position does not equal ability.

    … okay, I’ll stop now.

  5. Brilliant, Grace!

    While Rick makes a really valid point (and I’m glad he made it), I interpreted “Truth does not equal certainty” a little differently. Just as Jesus always spoke truth, yet the disciples didn’t always ‘get it’ – we may hear truth and believe truth, but not always be certain of the details (and may be surprised by the manifestation of truth, just as the original 12 were).

  6. Singing does not equal worship.

    Education (seminary education even) does not equal maturity.

    Preaching does not equal discipleship.

    Bread and juice/wine does not equal the Lord’s Supper/communion.

    Building/steeple/pews/pulpit do not equal the church.

    Sunday does not equal holy.

    These are fun…


  7. Emergent (TM) does not equal right.

    Evangelical does not equal wrong.

    Prophetic does not equal spiritual.

    Coffee in the coffee shop does not equal church.

    New doesn’t equal better.

    Old doesn’t equal vintage/classic/traditional (meant in a good way).

    GM does not equal Toyota (not by a long shot).

  8. Ken, you took the words right out of my mouth with this one: “Literal does not equal factual.” And the rest of your list, one by one, had my nodding my head in agreement. This is a good discipline. Thanks, Grace.

    I think I’ll try my own:

    Trustworthy does not equal scientific.

  9. Difference of opinion in theological issues does not equal heresy.

    Having personality conflicts and/or theological differences does not equal a “Jezebel spirit”.

    Asking for validation & a sober review of claimed miracles does not equal quenching the spirit.

    Being skeptical & erring on the side of common sense does not equal Phariseeism.

    Addressing error & excess in the prophetic minitistries does not equal “touching the Lord’s anointed”.

    Choosing to ignore or reject any prophetic pronouncement does not equal despising prophecy.

    Calling a spade a spade is not being negative or divisive.

    Refusing to acknowledge any claim of title or status or anointing or God’s favor is not equal to being anti-charismatic.

    Rejecting all charismatic bullshit shenanigans does not equal apostasy.

    (yeah…the list goes on… ) ;)

  10. Excellent additions everyone!

    rick and sarah,
    I actually expected more push back on some of these. There is definitely room to unpack the specifics and nuances of many of them.

    I think we can see the tendency for miscommunication when some of these words are used in incorrect generalizations. There is also great potential for misunderstanding when these words are used and interpreted by the hearer in a way in which the speaker didn’t intend.

    Thanks for your contributions everyone. I can’t pick a favorite. There all good and reflect a bit of your online personality.

  11. And just a reminder for all of us ‘born cynics’ …

    We could tag almost every thought with the byline: “- but it could!”

    This emphasizes our need for humility and our total dependence upon the Holy Spirit for continued guidance in this great adventure called ‘Life’.

  12. Great answers. I’ll try my hand at a few.

    cynicism does not equal wisdom, maturity, or objectivity

    condescension does not equal love

    malicious backbiting and scheming does not equal church discipline

    bitterness does not equal righteous indignation

    vast number of scriptures memorized does not equal a Godly perspective

    alienation from others because of one’s insensitive evangelism does not equal suffering for Jesus

    right doctrine does not equal right relationship

    woman pastor does not equal spawn of satan

    A loving God does not equal a divine errand boy

    Not ending your prayer with “In Jesus’ Name” does not equal God disqualifying your prayer

    the more people praying for something does not equal the more attention God gives it or the greater the chances of it being answered

    a desire to experience God does not equal a hyper-sensitive woo woo flake

    reading Brian McClaren does not equal strapping on rollerskates on a path to Hell

  13. A human perspective, even informed by Scripture, does not equal complete uniformity with God’s perspective :)

    Emerging does not equal lost.

    Evangelical does not equal found.

    Emerging does not equal open-minded.

    Evangelical does not equal neanderthal.

    Of course we all know that we can insert the word “always” into the space between “not” and “equal.” :) This is a fun little exercise, I have enjoyed all of the posts. There is much truth to be demonstrated by breaking some of the rigid correlations between terms that we all use. You have to love how God works on us all by using the “tensions” we have all been so creatively drawing here.

    Love in Christ,


    p.s.- there was one thing that kept running through my mind while reading and writing here. I think one thing that everyone here can have consensus on is this statement:

    Knowing Jesus Christ does equal life… life more abundantly.

  14. Remember this song?
    1. Little boxes on the hillside,
    Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
    Little boxes, little boxes,
    Little boxes, all the same.
    There’s a green one and a pink one
    And a blue one and a yellow one
    And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
    And they all look just the same.

    2. And the people in the houses
    All go to the university,
    And they all get put in boxes,
    Little boxes, all the same.
    And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers
    And business executives,
    And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
    And they all look just the same.

    We do this with words as well

  15. Great comments and ideas. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving.

    For me, the bottom line is…

    Truth=knowing Jesus=life.

    (Thanks Ray!)

  16. Your welcome Grace, thanks for your work in this blog. Ever since I found it, this blog has been a blessing to me in both moments of agreement, and in moments of “tension” between ideas :)

    Love in Christ, sister, you do good work. It has helped me see more of the Lord we both love.


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