Over the last ten years, especially in Reformed circles, there has emerged a vision of the Christian life where one of the defining characteristics of a believer has now become transparency. A Christian is someone who is authentic, real, and open.
While prior generations might have suggested the essential mark of a Christian was obedience, those days seem long gone. In fact, for many (post)modern Christians the central issue is not whether someone obeys God’s law but whether they are honest about whether they have obeyed God’s law.
Authenticity has become (for some) the number one virtue.
Thus, we come to our very first instance of Christianese: “The Christian life is all about being transparent and vulnerable.” This is the first installment in the “Taking Back Christianese” series originally announced here.
Our purpose in this post (as in all the posts in this series) is simply to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this phrase. We will do this by asking three questions: (1) Why do people use this phrase? (2) What is correct or helpful about this phrase? and (3) What is problematic about this phrase?
As we answer these questions, it is important to be reminded again that these phrases are not included in this series because they are (necessarily) mistaken. This is not a series about wrong Christian phrases. On the contrary, these phrases (at least understood correctly) can capture helpful biblical truths. But–and this is the main issue–these phrases are often misunderstood. And thus they are subject to abuse and misuse.