Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Least Favorite Word

"Ecclesiologies" is my least favorite word.

"-ology" means the study of.

"Ecclesiology" means "the study of the Church."  Biology means the study of life.  Physiology is the study of bodily movement.  Paleontology is the study of fossils.  Archaeology is the study of the past.

There is no such word as "biologies."  Either you study life or you don't.  "Biology" is an objective reality. 

Yet a phrase you hear a lot in Church circles is "Ecclesiologies."  Used in a sentence, it looks like this:

"You and I just see things differently in the Church because we have different ecclesiologies."

The problem with the word is that it grants some kind of credibility to those who dissent from the Church.  Maybe describing themselves as still "doing ecclesiology" lets dissenters sleep at night by granting an academic-sounding name to their worldview.

You can't have "ecclesiologies" unless "Ecclesia" (the Church) is subjective, shifting, wavering and waffling. 

There is one Church.  Either you study it or you make up your own idea of "church" to study, but then what you are studying is not the Church. 

"Biologies" is not a word.  "Paleontologies" is not a word.  "Archaeologies" is not a word.  In fact as I type these three words, spell check is rejecting them.  They aren't words.

"Ecclesiologies" is not a word either.