A Word We Should Use: Enthusiast

The English language is always changing.  I don’t say “evolve” because that implies progress, and I reflexively counter-punch at the idea that we are   progressing.  For example, the religious sense of the word “enthusiast” has fallen into disfavor.  But it shouldn’t have.   Today Charles Hodge helps us to recover it:

In the popular sense of the word, enthusiasm means a high state of mental excitement. In that state all the powers are exalted, the thoughts become more comprehensive and vivid, the feelings more fervid, and the will more determined. It is in these periods of excitement that the greatest works of genius, whether by poets, painters, or warriors, have been accomplished. The ancients referred this exaltation of the inner man to a divine influence. They regarded persons thus excited as possessed, or having a God within them. Hence they were called enthusiasts (ἔνθεος). In theology, therefore, those who ignore or reject the guidance of the Scriptures, and assume to be led by an inward divine influence into the knowledge and obedience of the truth, are properly called Enthusiasts.

They say it takes six weeks to change habits.  Maybe it takes six weeks of word usage to internalize it,  so my challenge to you is to find opportunities to use some form of this word from now until Christmas.  Just kidding, but if you do it now there’s the advantage of some people mistaking “enthusiast” for “one who exhibits yuletide cheer.”  In the alternative, you  could leave a comment with a sentence that shows how to properly use the word.


Filed under Charismatics, Presbyterian Vocabulary

3 responses to “A Word We Should Use: Enthusiast

  1. Pingback: Watch Your Posture, You May Be Worshipping | Presbyterian Blue

  2. Lifetime basketball enthusiast and color commentator was found dead of a heart attack in his hotel room, apparently from an overdose of excitement over the prospects of a Duke v. UNC championship game. Thousands of fans will be saddened by his departure, but will no longer have to scratch their heads in confusion over a man who yells and smiles simultaneously.

  3. "Michael Mann"

    Charles Hodge meets Dickie V. I’d pay to see that conversation.

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