I am a bit concerned with Merritt’s concept of “fossilization” here. If he is speaking strictly of vocabulary, then I would wholeheartedly agree. Language is fluid, as any reader of Shakespeare can readily attest. I am very reluctant and cautious of arbitrarily redefining words, but it is nonetheless a reality that language evolves, words take on different nuance and meaning.
However, I got the impression he was smuggling in the idea of allowing fluidity in ideas or concepts under the guise of changing language.
And even there I agree to a certain extent, that we should never think that our particular current formations are the final, complete and perfect formations of any idea or concept. But something was still unsettling to me. It is one thing to deepen, grow, expand, and further nuance our understanding of spiritual concepts. It is another to reject them in order to embrace an entirely new definition.
He used the example of trying to change the definition of “salvation” in a church setting (and used my “tribe” as his example). I for one would take no issue with discussing the expansion, nuance, or multifaceted nature of the word or its corresponding idea(s). But the reaction he described by people like me (of essentially disciplining him by said church) is what would happen only if someone was rejecting the established orthodox teaching about salvation. It sounded like this is what he was actually supporting, completely rejecting previous, established, orthodox understanding of salvation, under the guise of avoiding fossilized language.
I will discuss with someone all day if they want to expand, deepen, further, or nuance my concepts or definitions of any traditional Christian word or concept. But Merritt seemed to be advocating an evolving language to the degree that would result in rejection of long held Christian beliefs, and seems to suggest that my reticence to participate is because of my adherence to fossilized language. If that was his intent, I categorically reject this characterization.