Pondering the South African Memesphere – Looking for the Good in Everything header image 2

On Christianese and Sharing the Gospel

February 4th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 22 Comments

Stellenbosch Gemeente is busy with a series titled Carpe Mañana, or “Seize Tomorrow”. Last night, Ron Martoia had a brilliant talk about Missio Dei, the divine mission, which touched on what the Gospel is and what it is not. Amongst other things, it addressed some of the common misconceptions, e.g. that the Gospel is about getting people to heaven. I will blog about that sermon later, this post is an invitation to Christian friends to join me on a “conference” on Tuesday morning. Here’s the info, compiled from SG’s info pamphlet and website:

…tune out the Christian “noise” and hear the real message of Jesus.”

Words communicate. Christians often use words to communicate to others; however, these words aren’t understood by many of those outside the church. We can be so absorbed in our “christianese” that we don’t realize others don’t understand the jargon and cannot figure out what it is we mean by what we are saying. During The Static Tour, three renowned authors, pastors and leaders of our day will make you aware of what we are saying so we can re-focus our thinking to communicate clearly to those outside the church.

With: Ron Martoia ( , Stephan Joubert ( and Theo Geyser (

I hear Theo Geyser had some travel setbacks, and will likely not be there on Tuesday. 🙁

Date: Tuesday 5 February
Time: 09:00-14:00
Venue: Theological Faculty of the University of Stellenbosch
Price: R100 per person and R50 per student

They will also be visiting Pretoria on Thursday 7 February and Windhoek on Saturday 9 February. I would love to see friends there, and I would love to discuss the conference with them afterwards.

More about the speakers:

Ron Martoia
Ron helps people and the organisms they serve, design and then journey through the experience of deep change. He specializes in churches because the landscape of ministry is undergoing quantum changes. Many of these changes are theological and cultural shifts that in turn change the way churches see and then intersect their communities. He has written 2 books entitled, Morph! and Static. The sequal to Static, “Yearning: A New Starting Point for a New Conversation about Jesus”, will look at the skyrocketing interest in spirituality in our culture and how to use those entry points so we can enter the arena of spiritual conversation (release date 2008). (

Stephan Joubert
Stephan says: “Jesus really drives me crazy and, after 22 years, I am still passionately in love with my wife and my two wonderful kids”. Stephan has served as professor in New Testament Studies at the University of Pretoria for almost thirteen years. He has written and co-edited more than 50 Christian books and was co-editor of a very contemporary Afrikaans translation of the Bible, Die Boodskap, together with Jan van der Watt. He also writes a weekly column for a local newspaper and host a weekly radio program, for more than 600,000 listeners on (post-)modern day issues and the Bible. Apart from his role as part-time teaching pastor at a local church, Moreletapark, he also serves as editor of an Afrikaans cyberchurch called ekerk and a phenomenal e-mail and e-coaching ministry for more than 34,000 people. (

Theo Geyser
Theo is tans leraar van Stellenbosch Gemeente. Hy sing ook die afgelope 24 jaar saam met Koos van der Merwe in die sanggroep Prophet. Theo is passievol oor die kerk van die toekoms en is ’n aggresiewe leerder om die kulturele skuiwe binne ons huidige kulturele opbloei te verstaan. Hy het ook sy doktorale studies voltooi in missionaliteit binne ’n postmodernistiese samelewing. Theo is getroud met Wilma en het twee kinders, Carissa en Milan. Theo vang fanaties vis en leef Gen 1:26, “… heers oor die visse van die see …”, ten volle uit. (

More info can be found at the SG Website.

Categories: Worldviews

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Feb 4, 2008 at 2:30 am

    Amongst other things, it addressed some of the common misconceptions, e.g. that the Gospel is about getting people to heaven.

    It must be so nice to be the people who don’t have misconceptions about what the Gospel is about.

    /end snark

  • 2 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 2:46 am

    😉 Quite.

    Rationale for those that are wondering: theological study, historical context, kinda how most scholarship works. I’d point out also an emphasis on Jesus’ teachings. (Brian McLaren pulled a lot from NT Wright’s work.) Often it seems people preach mostly from Paul’s letters, rather than the Gospels (esp the synoptic Gospels).

    I really hope I can have some friends there as well, that we may discuss this, and see if/where there is differences of opinion. Everyone I’ve lent McLaren’s “Secret Message of Jesus” to have so far responded very positively (oh, except one atheist, he was looking for something specific, and that book wasn’t it – I helped him with something else).

    I’ve discovered how hard it is to summarise into a few blog posts the numerous books I’ve read lately. I will probably continue trying though. *sigh*.

  • 3 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Sometimes I wonder: why do I even bother? And how long will I continue bothering? And the more vitriolic atheists that frequent my blog often have the effect of undermining my motivation. So how would making me give up on it all help to improve the situation?

  • 4 George // Feb 4, 2008 at 6:48 am

    My understanding was that Geyser is quite a nice guy. But if he is sharing a platform with Joubert, he has no credibility left in my eyes. Nada.

  • 5 PienkZuit // Feb 4, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Sounds really interesting, but unfortunately the time (Tuesday morning) kinda sux.

    George, what is the problem with Joubert? (This isn´t sarcasm, I really don´t know much about him 🙂 )

  • 6 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Ben: Writes ThinkingApe on de-conversion – comment six of The Part of the Problem (the way I see it, anyway):

    The problem is that Christianity is stuck in a no-win situation. Contemporary Christianity, especially in America, is sick of the old “churchy” way of doing things – that is, to say, the dreaded “organized religion.” So instead they have created and, dare I say, emboldened a new sort of spirituality (simply look at the first response to this article). What has happened is that Christianity has gone from a corrupt communal institution to a highly egotistical individualistic endeavour to “know” Jesus.

    Scholars know that neither is the “original” Chrisitanity, despite the ambiguities surrounding what “original” Christianity actually was. Here is the fact of today’s “church”: contemporary American Christianity is closer to the so-called heresies of Valentinus and other Gnostics than that of the historical centrist church – “knowing” Jesus personally is more important than obeying his teachings. Period.

    Not that I really know what the point is of pasting another “anecdotal” statement about “original” Christianity…

  • 7 gerhard // Feb 4, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    i don’t understand the debate. how can endeavour to “know” Jesus be meaninful? I mean, if the only place you know of him or his ideas are the accumalative works known as the bible, which has been heavily edited and reworked over the centuries, all while ignoring most of what is actually written… then well.. what exactly are you endeavouring to know? its kinda like saying one can have a true understanding of winston churchill’s work and intent by watching/reading ‘churchill the hollywood years’. it will teach you about the various action figures that winston is based on but not about the thoughts or ideas originally he intended because the historical context was already distroyed.

    the point i am trying to get across is that even if there was a kind of christainity before , all knowledge of which would have been altered because of the editing over time which all accured with different historical context.

    btw, what time periods are we talking ? before christianization of rome? Are we including what is considered pagan cults into this equation or what?

    i take offence to being called vitriolic 😛 an element of bitterness doesn’t enter i think the operative word is , frustrated. Christanese is from the atheist point of view short for ‘talking about any interpertation of any bible related interpretation no matter how far removed’. ie. talking about christanese in christanese aka , replacing an evil by the same evil just with a new paint job.

    why do you even bother? because you care and are a seeker. And how long will you continue bothering? until either you have found something that replaces your need for the christ ‘crack’ addiction that isnt intelectually selfcontradictory or you learn that contradictory ideas which are mutually exclusive in struggle for dominace can’t be reconciled. is anyone trying to make you give up? no, i think people are just people and question things they think are questionable.

    personally i wouldnt want to see this blog close on the basis that i find it amusing here. *runs for cover*

  • 8 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Gerhard, you misunderstand me.

    why do you even bother? because you care and are a seeker. And how long will you continue bothering? until either you have found something that replaces your need for the christ ‘crack’ addiction that isnt intelectually selfcontradictory or you learn that contradictory ideas which are mutually exclusive in struggle for dominace can’t be reconciled.

    I have found what I was looking for, and I’m trying to communicate it. But I can only bang my head against the wall that is you so many times. What I’m giving up on, is trying to share my views with “frustrated” people like you, because you are not interested in hearing anyway.

  • 9 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I am also trying to share what I have learned with friends, friends that would benefit from what I’m trying to share with them. The presence of some “frustrated” people and their “frustrations” drive away some of my commenters. For this reason I sometimes wish that “frustrated” people could just bite their tongue right off.


  • 10 gerhard // Feb 4, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    haha, communication goes both ways 🙂 looks at what i posted and what you decided to comment on 🙂

    instead of choosing to deal with why the mclaren school of thought is not like deciphering history via ‘churchill the hollywood years’ , you choose to get distracted by the frivolous banter 🙂
    both ben and me have commented on the topic and in context of what is being said by your post and comments, trying to communicate and understand what you are saying and debating wether it even makes sense.
    but i hear you, debate isn’t welcome unless it conforms to your desired result.

  • 11 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Ben, do you agree with gerhard’s appraisal of the situation?

    Anyone else still reading, can you please share your impressions of Gerhard’s comments and my responses to his comments (and vice versa)? Please be honest.

    Gerhard, I am not interested in friviolous, meaningless debate. I have a particular direction I would like to take my blog, and getting bogged down debating you is not helping me get there. This is probably the reason I ignore large parts of your comments. Deciphering what you mean is already hard enough on its own. I cannot fight everyone, it drives me mad, it drives me to despair, it drives me to the brink of self-destruction, has done so on numerous occasions. Yes, that is my problem, and not yours, but maybe it helps you understand how I feel.

    I need to preserve every last ounce of my patience for the purpose of discussions with fundies. As such, I don’t want to waste any on someone that’s only here for the amusement, and not interested in actually making any significant difference or contribution. Which is why I ask: what exactly are you trying to accomplish, how are you contributing? Or are you simply enjoying yourself selfishly? (Sorry if I’m forcing you to recap here.)

    I’m working hard at getting better at ignoring frivolous banter, but yes, I get distracted too easily. I haven’t even gotten around to sharing what I want to share yet, as I’m so busy fighting you. Bleh. Maybe I should refer you to some of the older posts, you’ve not been around long enough, probably.

    Can anyone/everyone else reading this please give your impressions of Gerhard? Don’t judge the guy, just let him know how he comes across, that he might better understand why I’m so frustrated by his commenting on my blog.


  • 12 George // Feb 4, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Joubert is a fundamentalist Christian.

  • 13 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Issit? Hey, dis cool! Ron is nie (op grond van wat ek van hom gesien het gister), en Theo is beslis nie, dit maak dit dan ‘n diverse klomp. Dit kan interessant wees, ek hou van diversiteit.

  • 14 Ben // Feb 4, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Ben, do you agree with gerhard’s appraisal of the situation?

    I was skimming and skipping his comments. Off to re-read…

    I think Gerhard has limitations to his imagination that are different than my own or yours. Here’s how I see some of the different perspectives (everyone can tell me I have it wrong)

    From the combination of the OP and the other post Hugo referred me to: the speakers are not talking about a historical Jesus. The information (if it could be called that) being conveyed is nothing so concrete or factual. It’s more like a set of lessons, perspectives, and values that represent the Gospel as the speakers see it. Whether or not a historical Jesus ever even attempted to convey that same Gospel doesn’t matter. It’s a weird sort of fuzzy belief-claim.

    My impression is that Gerhard is saying that the claims aren’t right, when the claims are actually not even wrong. (To borrow a physics phrase.)

    Did I get anything right?

  • 15 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I’ve gotta go be pensive for a while. I’ve gotta get back to the point where I realise who my close friends are, and start spending more time with them. I don’t know what’s going on on this blog, and I’m tired of trying to figure it out.


  • 16 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    (I was referring mostly to this comment by gerhard:

    Clearly my communication skills leave much to be desired.)

  • 17 Ben // Feb 4, 2008 at 11:05 pm


  • 18 Hugo // Feb 4, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Ben, no problem, your comment is great, and I appreciate the effort you put into it. I should say sorry for not being clearer.

    I’m just going crazy again on this side, don’t mind me. 😉 Contract job is behind schedule and thesis defence needs to be prepared. And double bookings this weekend, and otherwise probably too little healthy social interaction. But you didn’t need to know that. Heh.

  • 19 gerhard // Feb 5, 2008 at 9:28 am

    hugo , i don’t think it is friviolous, meaningless of a debate.

    ben: not talking about the historical jesus , am talking about wether or not brain mclarens philosophy of attaining some ‘original’ hidden meaning via your own highly individualistic endeavour to “know” Jesus has any meaning what so ever in context of the bible. I feel one could do the same with mein kampf , leave out what you don’t agree with or what doesnt make sense in the current historic context and then declare hitler and nazism the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    now add to the fact that it isnt actually mein kampf by adolf hitler, its actually the combined work of many different hitlers . all of which was editied and altered by various empires or ‘theistic scholars’. now tell me does that make a lick of sense? is it really possible to extract the real meaning of hitlers message once you’ve cleaned it up time and time again , generation after generation?

    If you look at my earlier posts i talk about a anoxim put forward by joseph geobles which is clearly being applied here 😛

    hugo you are expressing your beliefs and have a goal in mind , fantastic , but you are choosing to do it publically. Noone wants to fight you step by step , but just dont expect that noone is going to hold you accountable. esp if you go around saying you want deciples and to start a new church 🙂

    what contribution am i making? hopefull i’ve made you think once or twice:)

  • 20 -M- // Feb 5, 2008 at 11:37 am

    A bit late for the all “debate” around Gerhard…:)…hehe…on my side, I can only have a little input on religion because of a clear lack of knowledge, BUT being a biologist, I obviously can comment on aspects of the theory of evolution. I am aware of the misconceptions around this theory in many people’s mind, and that’s why I entered one of the debate…to try to avoid the confusion that was arising from some of the comments made. I stopped doing so, firstly because the original discussion was NOT about evolution and secondly because the discussion with Gerhard was going nowhere…I am not interested in someone poking at holes…this is not a constructive discussion for me…it just irritates the hell out of me…no offense meant though…

  • 21 Hugo // Feb 5, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Yea, you make me think, thanks Gerhard.

    Have you read any Brian McLaren by the way?

    With regards to “disciples”, actually I just want to have some people that are walking a path with me. Friends to share a journey with.

    With regards to a “new religion”, I refer you to A New Religion?

  • 22 Jesus is Lord! // Feb 5, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    […] returned from attending the Stellenbosch “instalment” (please provide a better word) of The Static Tour. I have hope. So now this post. Let’s muster some courage and throw some words out there. If […]

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