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I don’t want to be nuanced

clear
Unsplash/Dan DeAlmeida

One of the biggest criticisms I receive over my blog and social media posts is also one of the biggest compliments I receive. 

Some people say I am not nuanced. But considering its meaning, that isn’t a criticism, it’s a compliment.

Actually, I think nuance is one of the biggest problems with evangelicals today.

I don’t want to be nuanced.

Nuance is one of the reasons why many professing Christians get abortions. 20% of American women who get an abortion go to church at least once a week. Meaning, 200,000 babies are murdered every year in America by people who regularly go to church.

Nuance is also one of the reasons why many Christians have embraced critical race theory. Nuance is one of the reasons why many evangelical leaders and pastors have become ineffective in rescuing people from critical race theory and deconstruction.

This is because many evangelicals believe it’s divisive to speak clearly on controversial issues.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “nuance” as “a very slight difference in meaning, sound, color, or someone’s feelings that is not usually very obvious.” 

“Nuance” is originally a Middle French word to describe making something more cloudy, shady, or subtle. Meaning, as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary says — “nuance” is making something “so subtle you might miss it.”

So when some evangelicals say we should be more nuanced on controversial issues like abortion and critical race theory — they’re (intentionally or unintentionally) suggesting our words on abortion and critical race theory should be “so subtle others might miss it.”

Naturally, that explains why many Christians are confused about critical race theory. Nuance is also apparently why some evangelicals claim the Bible “whispers on sexual sin.”

But God doesn’t whisper on controversial issues. God isn’t nuanced. He isn’t vague.

One of the reasons why we can be confident the Bible is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (1 Timothy 3: 16-17) is because of its clarity.

We don’t need to guess what God really believes about sexuality, abortion, and critical race theory. The Bible is clear about these things. It isn’t nuanced, so we shouldn’t be either. 

One of the reasons why I created my blog seven years ago is because a man I respect offered a nuanced answer to my question about systemic racism and Black Lives Matter.

I sincerely needed help. But the man was seemingly unwilling to help me. Presumably because of the controversial nature of Black Lives Matter, his answers seemed deliberately vague, unrevealing, and unhelpful. 

So I decided to help myself. I committed myself to study slavery, segregation, critical race theory, and biblical theology on race and justice — so I could give others more helpful answers than that man gave me.

I want my pen to be precise. I want my words to be clear. I want to be helpful.

I’m not a fiction writer. I don’t write novels — I am not supposed to be subtle or ambiguous. I want to address cultural and political issues with biblical theology. Since the Bible isn’t nuanced, why should I be? 

My favorite writer is Charles Spurgeon. His philosophy on writing has made a major impact on me. He says:

“Be sure to speak plainly because, however excellent your matter, if a man does not comprehend it, it can be of no use to him … Let your hearts indite a good matter, clearly arranged and plainly put, and you are pretty sure to gain the ear, and so the heart.”

I want to be like Spurgeon, because Spurgeon was like the Apostle Paul (Colossians 4:4). We Christians have access to the truth. We should be the least nuanced people in the world. Our confused culture needs clear words from Christians.

I don’t want to speak with both sides of my mouth. Clear writing is honest writing. I want to be an honest writer.

Nuanced writing doesn’t offend anyone, but it doesn’t help anyone either. 

Nuanced writing isn’t the opposite of kind writing. I want to be kind, but we can be candid and kind at the same time. Actually, kindness is always candid.

And when my words are candidly unkind — when my words are candidly wrong or sinful, I’m glad they’re so clear others can discern and candidly correct and rebuke me.


Originally published at Slow to Write. 

Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

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