A Matter of Semantics

Much of history, theory/theology, knowledge, and life is distorted when you don’t call a thing by its proper name.

Was the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1937 part of “World War II” or was it just a “Sino-Japanese War?” If you call it the Sino-Japanese War, then why is the end of WWII marked by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Taking this timeline, WWII starts with Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and ends with America bombing Japan… Why does that not quite line up? Perhaps until the world saw little Japan’s powerhouse war-waging capability, they dismissed Asian wars as regional affairs, not world affairs. In this case, even after the fact, Asian wars were not considered very important on the world stage; the fighting that broke out along the Eastern coast of Asia from Manchuria to Indonesia did not count as the start of WWII, but the regional wars of Europe did. This is not to say “change the history books” but to point out that simply naming something is actually not so simple.

(Blue indicates the extent of Japanese expansion in WWII)

Is a baby baptism and a baby dedication the same thing? Both may be done in the same spirit, but calling a baby who has been dedicated to be raised to know and fear God a ‘baptised’ child is vastly different from calling that baby a child whose rearing has been dedicated by the parents to God’s guidance. That is, if ‘baptism’ is to be an outward ceremony and declaration of a voiced decision to follow Christ by the one being baptised.

How far before love becomes idolatry? One is noble, the other hideous, taking the place of God. There is a difference, but it may not always be clear.

Semantics is a defining matter.


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