home > Pastor’s Desk > 2017 > October 05th > Let’s Do The Twist With The English Language


Spare a thought for our lexicographers at the moment. They have had to work an enormous amount of overtime lately. Lexicographers are those dear people who fuss about words and their meanings. They are the ones responsible for compiling our dictionaries. Generally they get to work at a leisurely pace and update our dictionaries every decade or so with the addition of those new words which have been adopted into our vocabularies. Of late, this has included such words as, “Google” which was originally added to our dictionaries as the name of a website (a proper noun) and then had to have another entry under it when it became a verb (‘I’ll Google it!”).

But in the last few years, these poor lexicographers have had to work their fingers to the bone trying to keep up. Their overtime hasn’t been devoted to the addition of a few new novel words such as ‘hashtag’ or ‘tweet’, but by overhauling of long-held definitions. Words which have universally been understood and thereby ensured the undemanding workload of lexicographers, have now come to mean something quite different from what they actually mean. This makes the lexicographer’s job very difficult as they flounder to make sense of it all as words now no longer mean what they mean.


Here’s some examples that have now got lexicographers in a tizz.

Word Lexicographical Meaning Attempted Twisted Meaning

verb: feel intense dislike for

noun: feelings of hate and revenge

verb: when someone disagrees with you

noun: differing point of view

discrimination noun: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex noun: the suggestion that distinctions can be made on the basis of capacity, capability, or biology.
logical adjective: of or according to the rules of logic or formal argument;  characterized by or capable of clear, sound reasoning adjective: it agrees with my opinion
unfair adjective: not based on or behaving according to the principles of equality and justice adjective: when I don’t get what I want
gender noun: either of the two sexes (male and female)

noun: whatever a person identifies as; this identity can be fluid and can include –

homosexual male, lesbian female, bi-sexual male or female, transgendered male or female, man-boy attracted, to name a few.

marriage nounthe legally or formally recognized union of a man and woman voluntarily entered into for life to the exclusion of all others noun: the legal union of any two people
gender-dysphoria noun: the psychological disorder of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex. noun: the feeling of being trapped in a body which does not correspond to the gender one wishes to identify with.
racism noun: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior noun: the unfair prejudicial treatment of a person based on their lifestyle choices
rainbow noun: an arch of colours visible in the sky, caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere. The colours of the rainbow are generally said to be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Identified in the Bible as a promise from God that He would never again flood the world of man. noun: representing sexual attraction diversity

noun: a strong feeling of affection, a great interest and pleasure in something

verb [with object]: to show deep affection, unwavering commitment to for another’s highest good

noun: a strong feeling of sexual attraction for someone

verb: to act on feelings of sexual attraction, to eroticise

sexual-orientation noun: a mid-twentieth century concept used to describe sexual attraction and grounded in one’s natural gender noun: something which defines a person’s identity with which they are involuntarily assigned from birth. A key concept developed in the tactical book, After The Ball, where the authors proposed that if they could persuade society that there was such a thing, it would make same-sex attraction appear to be normal and natural.

To this sample list we could add such words as tolerance, and bias. Of course, these are just samples of some of the key words which have been distorted so severely that their recent usage is virtually the exact opposite of their actual meaning. Unfortunately, this propensity for twisting words into novel meanings is not just confined to our street-vocabulary. It is now increasingly occurring in how people understand the Bible.


Pivotal Bible words such as ‘sin’, ‘love’, ‘Jesus’, ‘God’, ‘Scriptures’, and ‘Hell’, have all been twisted beyond recognition from their actual meanings. Sin means to miss the mark of the acceptable standard (Rom. 3:10, 23). Yet, word-twisters would have us believe that it means acting contrary to our true feelings. This is despite the Bible declaring that our feelings are subject to corrupted inclinations which – if left untamed – will result in our harm and ultimate demise (Gen. 4:7; Gal. 5:16).

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
Romans 7:18

The word ‘God‘ has similarly been twisted from its actual meaning – the all-powerful, self-existent, omni-present, omniscient, unchanging, triune, creator of the universe, and final Judge of all mankind; to – a celestial-type being or force whose supreme existence is to ensure my happiness



It has been said that, “He who defines the words used in a debate has already won the debate!” Words have power. I remember when my father in-law died suddenly. I was devastated. I was asked to take the funeral. I wondered how on earth I could say anything to bring any measure of comfort. I found myself saying, “No words can make any difference” to which I felt the sharp and instantaneous rebuke of the Holy Spirit. “Never say that words can never make a difference! Words can heal. Words can comfort. Words can strengthen!” This is why it is so distressing to me to have to endure the butchering of language at the moment. Too many people are going unchallenged with their word twisting. For example, last Saturday night the ABC 7PM TV News reported that a lesbian Uniting Church minister from Goodwood Road, Adelaide, was displaying a rainbow flag with a “YES” across it. They reported that the minister was receiving much “hate mail” as a result. Of the two examples they presented (which had respondents pointing out that such a position was contrary to Scripture) neither expressed any hate whatsoever. But it seems under the twisted words regime being thrust upon us, their disagreement with the lady in question was deemed to be ‘hatred’. How bizarre.  

Little wonder then that the general public who are generally unaware of how language is meant to work has been lured into the trap of accepting that disagreement is hate. The other day, Karen Dickson announced on her Facebook Page that she had just voted “No” in the Same-Sex Marriage Postal survey. One her FB Friends commented on that post that they could no longer be her friend because of Karen’s differing views! How bizarre.


The current practice of word twisting is making any possibility of having a sensible debate virtually impossible. When logic, normally grounded in research and reason, is twisted to mean nice feelings, resulting in the acceptance of the nonsensical slogans such as “Love is love” we are in peril as a society. This is so concerning to those of us who understand that words which once meant something have now been kidnapped and held to ransom by word-twisters because this makes the unsuspecting general public susceptible to being willingly persuaded that black is white and night is day. Quite frankly, it’s enough to send any lexicographer around the twist!

I conclude with a comment from James Parker who knows a thing or two about words and their power:


Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


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We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.


We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.


Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.


I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God is your God of buts.


What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. I can think of at least 12 different understandings of this word, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church at this crucial time.


​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)


This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.


The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.