Premier Christianity have included this article in their latest issue arguing that we may need to drop words like Lord from our Bibles and spiritual vocabulary as their meaning has changed over the years. In the case of “Lord” it’s main association is apparently with fictional bad guys like “Lord Voldermort and The Lord of The Rings” though the conveniently author neglects to mention the best known lord of our time – Dr Who, The Time Lord.
Now, it is true that words changed and we do rightly update our translations. You don’t find references to “quickening” or “aliens” in our Bible’s though the ESV’s love for “sojourner” is a little unusual. We don’t “suffer the little children” because we keep the word “suffer” for pain. I wouldn’t think to refer to all of humanity as “man” or “mankind” anymore either.
However, something different is going on here. It’s not just that a word’s meaning has changed but rather that we have a word here that itself reflects concepts and values that have gone out of fashion. We are not familiar with “lords” because we live in an egalitarian society. There are of course many things that are good about this egalitarianism. However, we may also be missing something here. Have we lost the sense that there is a right place for authority and respect?
Having an unusual, unfamiliar word will therefore help us to communicate something that is itself an alien concept to our worldview and help us to avoid misunderstandings about who Christ is. It is true that Jesus is my friend but that word loses the concept that he is different, powerful, majestic and has righteous authority over me. He is not my Prime minister or President, I don’t get to elect him. The word “boss” loses all sense of warmth, love and goodness. So how should we describe him
This is where we end up saying “look we have a word from the past. It’s not used much today but it reflects who Jesus is in a way that our contemporary language cannot express. Who is Jesus? Jesus is Lord.”