Caveat lector: “If’n ya’awnt to” is prefatory Southernese for “if you want to.” In this brief series, I’m giving neo-Protestant attention to several erroneous assumptions common to thinking and practice in Christendom. All of this is predicated on the ideas that humans may choose courses of action, and that some choices make more sense — biblical, or common, or both — than others.
Here are a few more words and expressions that are used to describe something though they do not describe that thing in fact:
D. If’n ya’awnt to, you can “baptize” a baby … yup, I suppose you can, but that action only has potential meaning for the grown-ups, not for the tiny, human subject of the ceremony. On t’utha han’, if’n ya’awnt to, you can relate every instance of the word “baptism” in the scriptures to overwhelming by the Holy Spirit, a la two or three significant occurrences in the Acts recorded by Luke, but “Holy Spirit Baptism” shouldn’t be the assumed meaning of the isolated word “baptism” in scripture.
E. If’n ya’awnt to, you can assume that the words “koinonia” and “fellowship” refer to mere togetherness, networking, “body life,” or worse—further fattening ourselves at congregational meals. But the biblical koinonia is more than that, and you we might as well realize it. In the scriptures, koinonia speaks of partnership in a task or project.
F. If’n ya’awnt to, you can think that
- worship equals the music you use
- worship equals the assembly
- worship equals “the service”/the liturgy
. . . but worship transcends all of these.
If’n ya’awnt to, you can think and do a lot of things in your church life that have little to do with scriptural principles and patterns but that are instead based in choice and freedom. By God’s design, we have personal freedom. But for those who want to do things that matter, things that make rational and spiritual sense, there are higher standards than personal freedom.
If’n ya’awnt to, you can a) realize and b) act on whatever truth you find contained in these words, “searching the scriptures to see if these things are so,” regardless of whatever biases and attitudes are or are not found in the writer.
And, if’n ya’awnt to, you can affirm, or take exception to, a point by adding a comment of your own. I encourage this!
 Here, “baptize” is assumed to mean“sprinkle”—I don’t know of any religious group that actually baptizes babies. “Baptize” means “immerse.”