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Neologisms for Evangelicals


[Impressia: 1325–75; Middle English impressio (u) n and Latin impressiōn- (stem of impressiō), equivalent to impress (us) (see impress1) + -iōn- -ion; Impressionism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism A style of painting associated mainly with French artists of the late-nineteenth century which sought to re-create the general impression of a scene by constructing their pictures from freely brushed colors that took precedence over lines and contours, captured the momentary and transient visual effects instead of details, especially by recreating the sensation in the eye rather than delineating the details of the subject.] [Scriptura: 1250–1300; Middle English and Latin scrīptūra writing. See script, -ure]

  1. The teaching that in Scripture all things are not objective, plain or sufficient as written, but that God’s Word needs an “energy boost” provided by the arousal of subjective feelings, impressions, sensations, heightened awareness, vague ideas, abstract thoughts, speculative ideas, images, and perceptions within the human mind/soul.
  2. The idea that it is not necessary for readers of Holy Scripture to pay attention to the details of the Bible, nor derive one’s beliefs from the meaning of the biblical text in situ (e.g., in the original place), but that the meaning of the words of Scripture can only be deciphered via abstract symbols, subliminal messages, evocative metaphors and esoteric meanings sequestered away in the text. [See Metaphora Scriptura]
  3. The premise that readers should to employ the Bible as an evocative tool to alter and/or induce moods, elicit impressions, stimulate imaginations, and imprint emotions within their soul/minds, moods, impressions, imaginations and emotions which have no relevance to the text as written. [See Nebula Scriptura]
  4. The belief that the Bible is a record of people’s experiences with God and therefore, that the meaning of the text will only be found within “the light” of one’s own subjective experiences and perceptions. [See Narcigesis]
  5. In a piecemeal fashion, seeking out random Bible verses (i.e., “proof texts”) and selfishly ascribing a privatized spiritual meaning to them even while being oblivious to the obvious meaning of the text; then, in numbed oblivion to the text’s obvious meaning, applying the patchwork of Bible verses to any life situation deemed personally appropriate, especially to soothe one’s emotions, forecast one’s future, drive one’s purpose in life, discover one’s destiny, determine God’s will, etc.

Related Concepts: “Deliteralizing” the Bible: from Plato to Peterson: Scripture amidst the Shadows


“These men painted only what their eyes brought them, but this left the question as to whether there was a reality behind the light waves reaching the eyes. They called it ‘following nature.’ After 1885 Monet carried this to its logical conclusion, and reality tended to become a dream.”[1]

“The historical flow is like this: The philosophers from Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and Kierkegaard onward, having lost their hope of a unity of knowledge and a unity of life, presented a fragmented concept of reality; then the artists painted that way. It was the artists, however, who first understood that the end of this view was the absurdity of all things.”[2]

“[H]umanism had no base for certainty in knowing. Interestingly, the artists had seen the problem before the philosophers and scientists. For… the Impressionists painted what they saw, but this left the question of whether there was reality behind the light waves reaching their eyes. Monet took the next step in 1885 and reality tended to be obscured.”[3]

Endnotes:[1] Emphasis in original, Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Old Tappen, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1976): 183.
[2] Ibid. 190.
[3] Ibid. 199.

Adapted from www.dictionary.com

NOTE: This post is authored by several members of the Discernment Research Group, including Pastor Larry DeBruyn and Sarah Leslie, along with Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries. This is part of a joint project to develop a descriptive vocabulary for the new doctrines, practices and heresies of the emerging evangelical church.