Given my recent use of the passage he opens up with, this is intriguing.

I've often made this observation about the vulgarity of the scriptures when teaching or speaking against the ethics of churchy-speak. But Driscoll makes it far more strongly and vulgarly than I usually do. I'll have to dig up some of those passages. I already looked up one because I couldn't really believe he wasn't stretching it somehow, but sure enough, Isaiah 64:6.


Jen said...

Looks like Jon found a new best friend!

Anonymous said...

I think he's right. Yet I would have a hard time using strong language myself(although I have regrettably in the past with poor results) because, unlike Jesus, I do know fully know a person's heart. It is a problem when we assume someone is a self-righteous hypocrite who knows they are a fraud but trying to cover it up when they are actually someone who sincerely believes they are right and trying to help you while they beat you in the head with the plank in their eye.

I would feel better pointing out Jesus' strong language passages with a humble assertion that we all be careful to avoid whatever the passage warns about.

And I think that there are more passages in the Bible that tell us to deal with people's sins graciously and humbly than passages that tell us to rebuke people strongly. This backs up Driscoll's recommendation to use strong language sparingly.

Now it is another thing to use strong language in a sermon where the speaker is sharing God's word with the whole group and not singling out a person. And he seems to desire to be sensitive and more selective than he has been in the past. It's an interesting clip. I'm sure the actual conference will be very good. Thanks for sharing it.
Chris D.

JPB said...

Chris -

I think Driscoll's main point here is that in Christian culture we have raised our ethics of nice to a point where they would exclude the Biblical writers themselves!

And I don't think we can just say the scripture writers can be held to a different ethical standard because they were inspired.

But you are right to point out that speaking publically or generally is different than speaking directly one on one. Nonetheless, Jesus, Paul, Isaiah, etc. They weren't afraid of someone's feelings getting hurt.

I think there are also issues here of cultural critique that most Christians aren't comfortable with but that the Scriptures are full of. Prophetic cultural analysis of the People of God is one of the central ways of communicating in the scriptures and we just don't do it enough. Instead (this too must be a lingering effect of Christendom and it's downfall) we point fingers at the homosexual culture, the major networks and the democratic party.

JPB said...

For a different take see the post at 22 Words

Anonymous said...

Yes, I did read 22 Words, also.
It's a hard topic. We don't want to be manpleasers, and we don't want to let people just go on their way when some clearly spoken words that might at first offend might later cause someone to address a problem they have or even turn from their sins.

I think Driscoll's part in the conference will be really interesting.

The Six of Us said...

I think a lot of men who are inwardly screaming these things found a new friend!

One may be surprised, but I do not think Christians (especially men...especially pastors) should shy away from strong language, of course, in the right context.

The problem (if you want to call it that) is that people in today's churches are so likely to get certain articles of clothing in knots that they miss the seriousness of the topic at hand. However, perhaps that is also how it was in Paul's day.

But useful? Absolutely! Take the passage about menstrual rags, for example. That was most likely one of the most disgusting things of the day. Would the point have been made as well had they said "a dust cloth?"

In my opinion, strong language should be kept for very strong points. I have heard pastors use crude humor as jokes. Not appropriate. However, at times, I think we need to squirm a little in our comfy church pews. When one reads Scripture without the rose colored church glasses, it is honestly not very pretty.

Here is a question, to which I don't have an answer for yet: Should young children hear this strong language and how do you talk with your children about it?

JPB said...

"Should young children hear this strong language and how do you talk with your children about it?"

Just tell Jakey,"Hell, yes!" next time he asks. :-)

Our approach has been to not make a big deal out of 'bad words' and instead teach them about proper context, etc.

I will often say, "That's not a word that we really use in normal polite conversations."

Sometimes I'll start the conversation. "Have you ever heard anyone say, 'Shit'? That's a word that means the same as 'poop.' Sometimes farmers or people like your great grandpa Mohler use just when they're talking about 'poop.' Sometimes people use it to just swear. They'll just say 'Shit!' for no reason. That's not really very polite and some people will be offended by it. You don't really want to get into the habit of saying it, but you don't have to run away and hide if you hear it. The same thing is true with 'crap'"

So I think they've heard me say it, they know its context, and hopefully I've brought them into an adult conversation about it.

The Six of Us said...

Okay...I was laughing out loud at your comment and Jakey, from the other room, came running in from his rest time asking what was funny.

...I couldn't bring the words "Hell yes, it's funny!" out of my mouth so I sent him back to bed with the words "Uncle Jon wrote something funny...go back to your books please."

I must have Josh read this although I know it will lead to rejoicing over having someone share his opinions. Most of me knows this is the correct way to handle language; however, the other part of me is too worried about my kids speaking like this in front of people who do not share this view and the fear that my kids will take their knowledge of "contextually okay" words and share them in the wrong context.

I suppose the key word here is "fear" and I just need to get over it.

And I would like to be there for one of those conversations. I can just see you sitting in a chair, them on the floor, explaining the intricacies of coarse human language as they look adoringly into your face. (I think the picture I got was of a painting. It just struck me funny to think of that conversation in that painting.

Janine the Bean said...

I think I found a new best friend Jen.

I like what you said Jon. These men in the Bible who used coarse language were not afraid of hurting feelings.

We studied Galatians in Women's Bible study this year and that just brought back a funny memory of the study leader when she came to the passage where Paul tells the men to emasculate themselves. Jodi, since you know was Marjy. I'm not sure if you were there that day. Off topic though.

As far as kids and strong language, I agree Jon. We have a friend who tend to let some words fly (especially when he's passionate about a subject) and I've had to have similar conversations with the kids. I like your attitude and style in this matter. Even just hanging out at the park, kids hear things. I think it's WAY better to be open with them about it than to ignore them or just simply say, "I don't ever want to hear you say that word." I think the key, as you said, is not to make a big deal about it.

We've had good conversations as a result of songs as well. I mean, when we occasionally turn the station away from 24 hour Christian radio. ;)

JPB said...

This started for us a looooong time ago with Les Mis and "Take the bastard out and shoot him!"

Good journey.