Darrow Miller and Friends

Becoming People of Influence in Order to Shape Our Language, Part 1 of 2

In reading Scott’s blog on the definition of marriage, I was struck anew that its redefinition has already happened.  As the thinking in the West has shifted from the Biblical worldview that helped to shape Europe (and was foundational to the birth of the USA) to an Atheistic materialistic worldview, new words enter our vocabulary and old words are redefined.  Scott has rightly pointed out that this “has already happened!”  The atheistic ideas are working their way out in society in our laws and behavior and we are beginning to reap the consequences.

Recently in California, the citizens’ initiative Proposition 8 was passed.  The purpose of this initiative was to enshrine in the California constitution what had been assumed at the writing of the constitution by virtually everyone in the state:  that as public policy, marriage is between one man and one woman.  We are thankful that the church in California led the way in establishing the initiative and seeing that it was passed.  This is an example of how the church can engage in and help reform the culture.  This kind of initiative needs to continue and expand nationally and globally.

However, the church needs to realize that the larger battle is to be fought in the realm of ideas and in the defining of words.  She needs to send her best and brightest to teach in the universities and to occupy the gates of our cities and the sectors of our societies.  In other words, we need to bring Kingdom culture of truth, beauty, and goodness into society at all levels; in our homes, to institutions, and to governance.  A fight for language will be at the heart of this battle.

As Scott has pointed out, words are powerful.

God created the universe by speaking words (i.e. Genesis 1:3 – “and God said” and Genesis 1:5 – “and God called”).  Jesus, Himself, is identified as the Word of God (John 1: 1, 14).

God created humans in His image (Genesis 1: 26-28).  Part of what this means is that we are word-makers.  This is reflected in the creative and analytical process of naming the animals (Genesis 2: 19-20).

Words are powerful.  God spoke words to create the universe and humans speak words to shape our world and create culture.

Noah Webster, the founder of early American education, was America’s first lexicographer.  Webster watched the rise of atheism in Europe, and the French revolution which sought to establish a society free from religions rather than as the American society that established freedom of religion.  He understood that a nation would be shaped by her words and that the person who defines the terms would define the nation.  He understood the need for the new nation to have a defining dictionary that was based on a Biblical worldview and principle.  These would then form or reform government, education, the arts, science, and family.  So he labored from the time he came to Christ in 1808, until 1828 to define the words that would build a nation specifically grounded in Biblical worldview and principle.  People who desire to reform their nation around a Biblical worldview would do well to learn from Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.  An online version can be found by clicking here.

-Darrow L. Miller

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).