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Claire Smith on a cultural shift in language: “Broken bad”

May 18, 2016

Claire Smith, writing at GoThereFor, has offered some very apt thoughts on the language evangelicals use these days when speaking about sin and human nature in her post Broken bad.  She writes:

I’ve noticed something of a cultural shift in the way we evangelicals talk about the human condition: more and more, we are ‘broken’, rather than ‘sinners’—people who act out of our ‘brokenness’, not our ‘sin’, rebellion’, ‘disobedience’ or ‘rejection’ of God. And I’m not convinced this shift is all good.

And I would have to agree that this is not all good.  Referring to ourselves as “broken” rather than “sinners” or “rebels against God” has seemed to me to be trying to avoid seeing us as how an all-holy, all-righteous God must see us.  But Claire Smith has done a far better job of explaining the pitfalls in this language – and she lists no fewer than ten such possible pitfalls in Broken bad.  This is an essay well worth pondering.  (Hat tip: Anglican Church League)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2016 8:27 am

    I agree that the language of brokenness should not replace the language that would lead to repentance, and it should never lead us to consider ourselves hapless victims.

    • May 18, 2016 3:03 pm

      I think my concern is that the language of “victimization” that has come to pervade society tends to obscure, even hide completely, the very real fact that each of us is responsible before God for his or her sin and that each of us needs a Savior who has provided atonement for that sin. So I was very glad to read what Claire has written…a much needed “tonic”.

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