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.


Feedback for Chambers

Here is July 13th from My Utmost for His Highest. Is it a little harsh? Or dead on? Your feedback is appreciated. (Feedback does not necessarily have to be a comment on here.)

“In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord.” Isaiah 6:1

Our soul’s history with God is frequently the history of the “passing of the hero.” Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and fail and get discouraged. Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died — I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? or — I saw the Lord?


It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatever. “In all the world there is none but thee, my God, there is none but thee.”

Keep paying the price. Let God see that you are willing to live up to the vision.

This was entitled, “The Price of Vision.”

MRS Degree: an honours designation

Only in the last semester of university that just passed did I learn what an ‘Mrs. Degree’ is: the situation where a female attends university with meeting a spouse as a major intention. [Pun intended]

Hallmark sentiments

When I discovered this concept while chatting with some classmates, my immediate reaction was repulsion. How dishonourable, to go to university for something other than intellectual or professional development! lame shame.

Having grown up a little more since then and thought more about it from different angles, I realise that I am at fault for my immediate reaction. While it sounds like someone pursuing an MRS Degree is idolising romance/marriage/men, being repulsed to the degree I was at the time shows evidence of being steeped too far in the opposite direction: idolising intellectual pursuit and independent thinking.

It’s bizarre, because I feel so sad when I see that bent in my professors’ world views, or when class discussions revolve endlessly around how wrong it was that women did not used to be able to pursue independent lives. Many professors’ academic research matters little in light of eternity. I know this and believe it strongly, yet the attitude has permeated. While looking for fun images for this post, I read something on another blog by a Christian high school teacher which I won’t link to, but will quote: “My biggest fear is that many of the young ladies I teach will go off to college in hopes of getting an MRS. degree. Ladies, keep fighting.” Keep fighting what? The godly desire for marriage? I know that Christians complain about how society does not respect ‘family’ anymore, but perhaps Christian society (especially young people like myself) can disrespect it just as much in our attitudes.

Say MRS Degree to a bunch of female honours students who take school seriously and you’ll probably get frowns and rolled eyes. (This hasty generalization is based mostly on an assessment of my reaction in the situation cited above.) It just sounds ridiculous and somehow ‘cheap’. But the truth is, marriage is honourable and worth pursuing. (Unless you are called to be celibate – and not many are.) I don’t feel like researching a bunch of Bible verses for this post because the ones I would quote are well known and easily googleable anyhow. Adam and Eve – not good for man to be alone, Proverbs – he who finds a wife finds a good thing, 1 Corinthians – it is better to marry than to burn with lust… etc.

Thinking about university peers who have married or are getting married after meeting during university, it’s a little ridiculous that a short while ago I would think lowly of MRS Degrees theoretically, because I have always had huge amounts of respect and admiration for the young couples I know, and never thought about the contradiction in my attitude. Now I have gone and given those classmates in the discussion the wrong impression of marriage.

It is one thing to see the wrong in idolizing romance, but depriving the pursuit of marriage of its honour is wrong too.

More from Exodus

Done Exodus! Next phase: Judges and James. Here are some notes I quickly typed as I was reading.

Idols: the things you cherish in your heart.

“I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god!” -Exodus 20:5 NLT

Let’s throw this thought out there. Replace silver and gold (what you’re not supposed to make idols out of) with ‘things precious to you’ in Exodus 20:23.

Remember, you must not make or worship idols of [things precious to you]. (NLT)

Fear connotates respect; fear is different from being afraid. Being afraid is to do with outlook while fear is to do with attitude.

Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” -Exodus 20:20 NIV

Something to think about regarding God’s view of death caused by man: it shows the heart behind Jesus’ explanation in the Gospel of Matthew about God’s commandment against murder. In the law quoted in Exodus, accidental killing that God allows to happen is not punished with death. The intent to injure (and the link to anger as producing that intent) appears important. Think about intent and motivation to end life regarding abortion, euthanasia, and suicide. In particular, this article from the Weekly Standard brings up abortion workers who are beginning to see their work of ending life as “unbearable.”

Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. However if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee to a place I will designate.But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death. (Exodus 21:12-14)

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. (Matthew 5:21-22)

God is very fair: the rich cannot buy his justice off, and the poor cannot avoid paying their dues either. Exodus 30:15, Galatians 3:28, Romans 10:34

Coming next… a search of “Sabbath” and “rest” in Exodus.