Simple, Clear, Faithful

By Tom Castor | June 13, 2023 |

Since we began more than a decade ago, we have used three phrases to “keep us on track.” Writing with simplicity can, if one is not careful, distort things. That is why all three of our guiding phrases are important. Linguistically Simple, Theologically Clear, and Biblically Faithful.

What follows are the first few paragraphs of an article we wrote recently to answer the question, “Why these three?” The complete article is MUCH longer than this excerpt. It is NOT written in a simple style. But it does, I think, give a thorough answer to the question. If you would like to read the entire article, you will find it HERE.

Linguistically Simple, Theologically Clear, and Biblically Faithful. These three-word sets give some sense of who we are and what we hope to accomplish in our writing. But they also provide an internal reminder, a collection of checkpoints for us as we write. None are redundant. Linguistically Simple shapes Theologically Clear on one side and Biblically Faithful on the other. Theologically Clear goes with the Linguistically Simple in one sense. The language we will use to communicate the theology we teach will not stand in the way (or at least we intend it this way) of understanding the theological points we are attempting to make. Much theology comes to us in dense language. As one studies theology at increasingly serious levels, they are exposed to new vocabulary and increasingly complicated explanations using that vocabulary. Theology becomes less and less friendly for the average, but no less sincere, reader who wants to understand what God says and how he says it. We all (as believers at whatever stage of our journey after Christ) want to know who God is and how God is. That is theology proper. But as we go deeper (especially in our academic pursuits of theology), we pile up a substantial stack of theological vocabulary and seem obligated to use it in increasing amounts as we progress in our study and teaching. 

Theological clarity sometimes requires thin slicing of concepts that require well-sharpened tools (like precise, fine-tuned vocabulary). But we hope to achieve the clarity we seek to communicate in ordinary language. Theologically Clear means that we will try NOT to be theologically ambiguous or muddle-headed. When necessary, we will try to thin-slice ideas as required (when required) and dig down in places where a surface explanation is inadequate. However, we will work hard to achieve that clarity in a way that does not leave readers behind or unclear about what point we are trying to make.

No compromise in theological clarity. 

That means we must establish theological positions that are distinguished from other theological positions. Every “This is what we believe is true” implies that there are other things that we believe are NOT true. Sometimes clarity requires that those things be spelled out. Perhaps precision is the destination, but it is our ambition to get to that destination in a way that is easy to follow AND allows the follower to lead others along those same paths.

Tom Castor

Thomas Castor, founder of Clear and Simple Media Group, is a seasoned writer and communicator who has been delivering content with clarity and simplicity for 30 years.