Decree and declare — a 'spiritual' cliché revisitedThursday, March 25, 2021
It has become quite popular in certain churches, and so demands examination: The epithet, “I decree and declare…” A cursory analysis of the two verbs should be helpful.
To decree is to order/ordain/proclaim something, with unquestioned authority or power associated with the decree. Implied, too, depending on what is decreed, is that power is released to cause the thing decreed to happen or come to be in reality.
Consider a decree from God or the highest court in a country. So God decreed, “Let there be light…” and there was, because God's creative power was involved in the decree.
With reference to the highest court, what is decreed is not so much caused, as with God, but failure to comply with the decree attracts penalties in law.
This means that no Christian (including clergy) has any authority/power to decree anything except when repeating a divine decree in the Bible. The language of decree from the Christians who use the epithet is thus stripped naked of the pretentious spiritual air it is intended to convey.
Now to the verb declare: This means say/make known/make public, quite an innocent garden variety word by itself. Yet, in combination with decree, it is intended to be more content or spirit-filled than it really is. It seems to me, though, that unless what is declared is simply repeating scripture, as I said earlier with reference to decree, declare is thus stripped naked of the pretentious spiritual air it is intended to convey.
Pastors ought to encourage worshippers to examine the popular clichés used in worship and seek to probe their meaning and humbly revise or stop using the ones that are contentless or not so sensible.
Don't get me started as a musician on some of the choruses that are badly in need of lyrical surgery or that are lyrically butchered by unthinking congregations.
Rev Clinton Chisholm is a retired Jamaica Baptist Union pastor and former academic dean of the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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