Lost in Translation
“…just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him…His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
2 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV UK)
Have you ever seen an original Edison phonograph? It’s a record player, but instead of playing discs it plays cylinders. You just wind it up and sit back and enjoy the music!
Well, these days it the sound it makes isn’t so great to our ears.
You know, when Edison was first trying to sell these things, he got a group of journalists together and recorded their voices. But when he played it back, one reporter wrote that he couldn’t recognise what he heard. It sounded like someone else talking in the distance. Something had been lost in translation.
Sometimes the way we talk about Christianity can feel like that. The simple message of Christ’s redemptive work can get lost in all the jargon. We use theological terms such as “immanent Trinity”, “economic Trinity”, “Perichoresis”, and the “Hypostatic Union” to help define certain core beliefs. But while this terminology is very important to maturing believers, to someone on the outside, it can sound as if we’re speaking another language.
But that’s not how it’s supposed to be.
The Good News of the Gospel is simple enough so that even a child can understand it. It tells us that God already loves us. He knows everything about you—the good and the bad—and he still wants to bring you into relationship with him. The Good News of the Gospel is that Christ has already done everything to accomplish that—he’s paid the price, and we are already redeemed. There’s no fine print, nothing we have to do except believe in him and accept his grace. The rest is up to our Lord. He’s ready to give us peace and rest. Ready to turn our sorrow into joy. All we have to do is listen…and not let that Good News get lost in translation.
Holy Father, we hear you. But so often what we hear is not precisely what you intended. Our fears and prejudices can get in the way, even our previous understanding and approach can hinder your Word to us. Help us to listen with care, and to think about what is being said to us. This we pray in Jesus’ name.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.