We made it to Greeley, CO safely and with most of our sanity. Heaps of thanks to all who prayed for us as we endured what ended up being a 24-hour road trip. Highlights of the trip include the following: the Top of Texas Catholic Superstore (like a religious Walmart?), the billboard in northern Texas advertizing a “24/7 Yum Machine” (a glorified vending machine), a giant mound in New Mexico with a single porta potty at the top (when you gotta go, you gotta … climb a mountain?), and Cullen’s commentary along the way (“Dad, this is another one of those nothing towns”). Aidan and Cullen both were great in the car. This was largely due to the fact that I purchased the entire Chronicles of Narnia series on CD before we left Birmingham, AL. The boys absolutely loved listening to these. For parents taking children on a long trip, I highly recommend this set of audio books. The guy who does the voice of Aslan overdramatizes the part a bit, but all in all I would say this is one of my best purchases ever!

Tomorrow, I head to Greenwood Community Church for an examination before the Ministerial Committee. I’m presently working through the EPC ordination process. The EPC is quite thorough, and I’m very thankful for this. A rigorous ordination/installation process plays a pivotal role in protecting our churches from false teaching.

On the subject of ordination, just this morning I was reading C.S. Lewis’ Essay Collection, and I stumbled across this gem, which I find worthy of sharing. Lewis writes:

Every examination for ordinands ought to include a passage from some standard theological work for translation into the vernacular. The work is laborious but it is immediately rewarded. By trying to translate our doctrines into vulgar (meaning “common”) speech we discover how much we understand them ourselves. Our failure to translate may sometimes be due to our ignorance of the vernacular; much more often it exposes the fact that we do not exactly know what we mean.

Agreed. Following the lead of a very influential professor of mine, I refer to this as “the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Many church leaders today are opting to cut all theological lingo out of their sermons. I think this is a mistake. We need to use words like “atonement,” “justification,” and “propitiation” in our sermons, because the Bible uses them–a lot! People need to know what these terms mean. Rather than shying away from such terms, pastors need to master the art of translation, of explaining biblical and theological words in such a way that anyone can understand them. I don’t care if someone doesn’t understand the word “atonement” when they come to our church; I do care if they don’t understand the term when they leave.

4 Comments

  1. Good point and I agree…biblical terms need to be kept in sermons and explained to those of us who are not scholars ! Praying as you prepare for your exam. Loved hearing the highlights of your trip..ha! So glad the long drive is over and hope you’re starting to feel rested !

  2. Hello Dillon,

    Congratulations on your new position. I was formerly a teaching elder in the PCA, the somewhat more conservative sibling or cousin to the EPC as you are certainly familiar.

    I’m planning on moving to NZ within the year with my family. I am also considering pursuing a Ph.D at Otago. Already have an M.Div. and an M.Th.. What do you think about Otago? I was there for a week in April – in Dunedin.

    Best to you,

    Logan Craft >

  3. Welcome to Greeley Dillon and family. Many of us prayed for you and Cullen’s fever. We are very excited to meet you on Sunday. You are absolutely right about your comment on translation. A master teacher is the one who can read a text at a high level and interpret it to the students at their level. It is a breath of fresh air to hear you write about the use of those biblical terms, that are so rich in meaning, when many of our leaders in the pulpit have chosen to please the younger crowds with watered down and unbiblical content.

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