Contradictions in terms

An oxymoron is a contradiction, or an apparent contradiction, in terms. Often oxymorons are offered with a gentle glint of humor. That gives rise to such great contradictions as “military intelligence,” or “honest politician.” We smile because, though there might be such a thing as an honest politician, it seems very rare indeed.

Some more offerings: “Humble Texan” (the citizens of that great state might declare they have no reason to be humble about their state). Point made. But there are others. What about “food at McDonalds” (OK, that was harsh), or “jumbo shrimp”? And what about “realistic reality show.” Or “rap music.” Which is it, rap or music?

But here’s a very serious one: “Half hearted Christian.”

There is no such thing. Either we serve our Lord wholly, or we’re not serving him at all. Serving Christ is not a pastime, hobby or distraction.

Christ calls us to give all that we have: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). This suggests a follower of Christ who gives himself unreservedly to the Lord. That’s the only kind of Christ-follower there is.

Allow me to offer instead a redundant phrase (where an identical idea is repeated): “Committed Christian.” Well, either he is, or he is not a Christian at all.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan began preaching in 1976, and worked in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He served as preacher with the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He was Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He was married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He authored five books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs; Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song; Equipping the Saints for Ministry; and Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation. Stan passed away 19 Feb. 2019.

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