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I don’t know about you, but I read lot’s of partial books nowadays; between my Nook and Iphone I have access to samples of whatever book I can find, for free. lewistimeUsually with the types of books I can find in the area I like to read, the samples are just about right (if they whet my appetite, for me I can usually get the full text at my local theological library, Multnomah).

Anyway, I was reading one of my sample books the other day—Alister McGrath’s Mere Apologetics—and in the early part of that book (the only part I have access to 😉 ) he offers a quote by the ubiquitously present C. S. Lewis; Lewis writes:

[W]e must learn the language of our audience. And let me say at the outset that it is no use laying down a priori what the “plan man” does or does not understand. You have to find out by experience…. You must translate every bit of your theology into the vernacular…. I have come to the conclusion that if you cannot translate your own thoughts into uneducated language, then your thoughts are confused. Power to translate is the test of having really understood your own meaning. [Alister McGrath citing C.S. Lewis, Mere Apologetics, Iphone version, p. 60]

I find it interesting that Lewis uses a priori in this paragraph of his; but hey, that’s just me ;-).

Seriously though, this reality that Clive is speaking to is not lost on me; it really is quite true. But having said that, this is often what makes blogging so challenging; there is the gamut of audiences reading blogs (my blog included). And so to try and gauge who the audience is, is rather difficult. I have come to the conclusion that, in general, blogging itself self-determines its audience. In other words, the way the blog author writes (the level, reader expectations etc.) will determine who his/her audience ends up being. This is why, I would venture to assert that some blogs have bigger followings (name recognition of blogger obviously helps with this too) than other blogs (like more academically written blogs which usually have smaller audiences).

The way I blog is cross-gamut in orientation (I think). Often my posts are academically shaped, and this is because I am simply reflecting on whatever I am reading at that moment (which is always and usually, anyway, academic in orientation). But then I do put up posts that I am intentionally trying to engage a larger audience through; I intentionally seek to be more accessible in my language, and conceptually as well (or I just try to move slower with these posts).

I think Lewis makes a great point, but I do find it interesting that he is assuming a certain audience in his quote; he is presuming that the primary audience is the uneducated. What about the “educated” audiences? Is there the same burden to translate in non-technical parlance as there is with the uneducated? Of course not! There is an unapologetic space for just speaking, and getting thoughts out, no matter how “technical” it ends up being. And I would want to argue a bit with Lewis in the sense that not all concepts are actually translatable into uneducated verbiage; I would argue that the fact that there are actually complex and deep concepts require that a correlate and commensurate grammar and lexicon are invented in order to precisely capture and signify said deep concepts. Once this lexicon is invented, and used contextually with meaning; indeed, then the real work of unpacking this can happen—or teaching and/or education can commence; i.e. the uneducated become educated (meaning they stretch up, not backward or down), and the circle of life continues on as it transects with the giver and embodiment  of depth himself, Jesus Christ.



Hello my name is Bobby Grow, and I author this blog, The Evangelical Calvinist. Feel free to peruse the posts, and comment at your leisure. I look forward to the exchange we might have here, and hope you are provoked to love Jesus even more as a result. Pax Christi!

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A Little Thomas Torrance

“God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself. Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.” -T. F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, 94.


“A deep brokenness requires a deeper theology.”

Philosophy of Blogging

“I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” - St. Augustine cited by John Calvin

“We must always keep in mind that the reason the Son of God came down from the hidden throne of the eternal Father and revealed heavenly doctrine was not to furnish material for seminary debates, in which the display of ingenuity might be the game, but rather so that human beings should be instructed concerning true knowledge of God and of all those things which are necessary to the pursuit of eternal salvation.” Martin Chemnitz, Loci theol. ed., 1590, Hypomnemata 9 cited by Barth, CD I/1, 82.


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