08 June 2009

The End of Evangelical Innocence

by Phil Johnson



oday I'll be in the studio with John MacArthur, taping an interview about the contemporary evangelical obsession with sex. "The Case Against the R-Rated Church" is the working title, but the interview is unscripted, so we'll see where it goes.

Anyway, I was looking up facts and various news items on the subject and three things struck me.

One: This is a huge and widespread problem. The "Christian" districts of the World Wide Web are filled with places that aren't safe for family viewing—everything from "Christian" sex shops to lurid advice columns.

Two: Modesty is all but gone from the evangelical movement. Not only have today's evangelicals cast aside innocence as if it were something to be ashamed of; they are proud to have done so. They are keen to show a comfortable familiarity with the very things Scripture says it is shameful to speak of in public (Ephesians 5:12), and they would be embarrassed to be thought squeamish about such things.

Three: Sermons with graphic sexual themes and church-wide sex challenges are merely symptoms of a much bigger problem. In short, the church is fornicating with the world and intoxicated with the spirit of the age. Some of neo-evangelicalism's favorite jargon—missional, contextualization, authenticity—has been tortured and misappropriated in order to justify and institutionalize gross worldliness.

Holiness is the missing note from the contemporary evangelical message—and no wonder. It's hard to speak credibly about holiness when you're trying so hard to impress the world (James 4:4). When unrepentant porn stars are congratulating you on your savvy and commenting on how cool your religion is, you're probably not exemplifying the aspect of sanctification Jesus spoke of in John 15:19.

In that vein, I was going to comment on this article by Lauren F. Winner, author of the best-selling book Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity. Both the article and the book embody every problem I've pointed out above. But my time is limited. So instead of dissecting the article, I'll just link to it, and note the irony of one sentence therein: "We Christians spill plenty of ink moralizing about sex, but we seem unwilling to talk about it in any honest or theologically engaged way." (Winner strongly implies that we're not being "honest and theologically engaged" unless we discuss sexual topics freely and openly, without making uncomfortable moral judgments.)

Her assessment of where the evangelical movement is right now is exactly backward. For more than three decades—ever since Marabel Morgan's The Total Woman (not to mention the plethora of evangelical sex manuals that followed in its wake), evangelicals have been congratulating themselves on their candor and expertise when it comes to the topic of sex. This article by Mark Oppenheimer from Slate Magazine chronicles a long list of evangelical sex manuals (by the Lahayes, Ed Wheat, Dobson, etc.) noting, "The Wheats and LaHaye offer finely wrought anatomical diagrams, [but they] . . . do not invoke the language of sin."

Now read this extremely disturbing account of Ted Haggard's tasteless bragging about evangelical sex, made on film sometime before the debauchery of his private life became public.

Haggard's fall was only one incident in a long line of shrill wake-up calls that have been utterly ignored by the evangelical movement. Instead of heeding the clear warning signs, evangelicals have somehow managed to convince themselves that obsessive talk about sex in explicit terms is necessary for "reaching" people in a culture that is already hopelessly sex-crazed. They keep telling one another that they are too prudish, and (after all) naivete is really the greatest threat to chastity. They strive to mirror the world's preoccupation with sex, arguing further that this is what serious contextualization demands in a culture like ours.

Meanwhile, they keep insisting that evangelicals still aren't talking enough about sex. Lauren Winner again: "We shy away from discussing sex because, like most other matters in our highly atomized, individualized culture, we think of it as private."

Hmmm. Well, it's certainly not private if you talk about your own sexual "indiscretions" as freely and casually as Winner and her friends seem to. She boasts of a friend, "Jill, a Wheaton College grad who lost her virginity in the Billy Graham Center." Winner's point in that context is that making premarital sex taboo doesn't stop people from having premarital sex.

The fact is that endless, explicit sex talk doesn't encourage chastity, either. I contend that it also aggressively undermines holiness, and the evidence of that is abundant within the evangelical movement itself.

This morning, I'll be getting John MacArthur's perspective on it. Let me know if there are questions germane to this subject you want me to ask him. I'll ask as many of your questions as time permits.

Phil's signature



PS: One of the perks of my job is that I get to ask John MacArthur any hard question I want, any time I want. But I really enjoy these taped conversations, because they're longer, more focused, and more intense than the typical casual lunchtime conversation. If you're on the Grace to You mailing list, you'll be able to request a free copy of this interview on CD in July.

197 comments:

Celestial Fundie said...

Go prudery!

I think it is tragic that evangelicalism is abandoning the old-fashioned value of modesty.

As you have said before on this blog, part of the problem of porn use amongst Christians is the complete lack of inhibitiveness these days.

Last summer, a pastor preached a rather steamy sermon on Song of Solomon, celebrating the erotic aspects of marriage. As a single person, I found that really hard to listen to especially on a hot summer evening. After the sermon, we had a prayer session and I just could not concentrate on prayer then.

I think the message of this post is really important.

Matt F said...

Hi Phil,

I see that what you're describing is very important and I have felt convicted about this myself and yet I am still somewhat confused.

My question is:
Is the Bible R-Rated? Have we misunderstood Ephesians 5:12 if it means that pastors and teachers would not preach from the narrative passages in both the old and the new testament in which sinful behaviour is described? Even the sexual sin of say David and Bathsheba as just one example?

Related is something specific to the passage in Ephesians that you mention. How can one expose the unfruitful works of darkness as Ephesians 5:11 instructs apart from speech (5:12)?

Frank Turk said...

2 questions for Dr. MacArthur:

1. Some circles are implying today that a call for holiness from the pulpit is in fact legalism rearing its ugly head. How do you respond to the idea that all this talk about sex it somehow a Christian liberty, especially from the pulpit?

2. While any children can understand the Bible, a lot of the Bible uses harsh language -- for example, Hosea's description of Israel's idolatry as an explicit chasing after many lovers, or other prophetic uses of explicit sexual imagery. How does one preach through those sections of the Bible with sensitivity to the issues you are concerned about?

donsands said...

"..you're probably not exemplifying the aspect of sanctification Jesus spoke of in John 15:19."

I watched the video where this group of people set up a "ministry" outreach right smack in the midst of the pornography conference.

They're not preaching the Gospel in it's fullness for sure. They simply tell people "Jesus loves you", and we want to feel your hurt and hurt with you.

Then you have the Fred Phelps type of guy outside.

What a mess.

I was thinking setting up a booth would be fine outside the building, and also preach the Gospel.
And some will hate you if you do that. But perhaps God would have mercy on some.

What does Pastor MacArthur think about openair preaching at porno conventions?

I am very encouraged that John MacArthur and you are going to do this interview.

christianlady said...

What did the respected church leaders of the past teach on the subject of sex in marriage?

DJP said...

Interesting aside: if anyone's using Chrome as his browser, the "Splat" graphic appears on top of the text.

I thought you were making a doubly bold graphic statement... though it does make the text a little harder to see.

FF and I Exploder are fine. Ditto Oprah. Er, Opera.

sem said...

Would you put Shannon Ethridge's book and subsequent ministry, "The Sexually Confident Wife", into this category? I was very uncomfortable with the explicitness, myself, but was told that it was just my own hangups. So maybe I was right to be uncomfortable?

Rob said...

This was a great message. To me, though, while I do have trouble with sexually-explicit content in messages, my greater concern, on the topic of sexuality, would be in regards to the permissiveness of birth control drugs in the church today and the dangers that these medications pose for women.
If churches are going to have frank discussions about sexuality, then wouldn't it be right and proper to, at the same time, address the fact that many birth control medications, used by women in the churches, act as little more than early-stage abortificants? Or is this something just neglected by the pulpit during these candid sex-theme sermons?

naturgesetz said...

It needs to be made clear that sex within marriage is in no way "dirty," shameful, or sinful. It is part of being the image and likeness of God, and it is why God made them male and female. That loving embrace is to be a foretaste of the joy of heaven, as Pope John Paul II stated in his book "Love and Responsibility" and in the series of Wednesday talks which constitute his Theology of the Body — grounding sexual morality in Genesis and love, rather than the decalogue and fear.

But …

it is still meant to be private, and too much talk can both violate people's privacy and contribute, as you say, to an unhealthy obsession, especially among the unmarried.

Gary said...

Is there necessarily a problem with the books you list, within the privacy and intimacy of the (married) home? I think your concerns about church-wide sex challenges and pornographic preaching are legit. But books?

Honestly, sometimes the posts on this topic come across as "Christians like sex too much!" Is that what you are getting at? Idolatry of sex? Or is this more about HOW the church is showing their love for sex (too publically)? What is the right context for educating someone about sex?

Trey said...

"For it is shameful even to mention what the DISOBEDIENT do in secret."
-Ephesians 5:12

You seem to have left that part out. Disobedient meaning non-believers, obviously.

"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. DO NOT ADD to his words or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar."
-Proverbs 30:5-6

Check out the testimonies on www.xxxchurch.com or www.thepinkcross.org. People are getting saved! Rejoice! Praise Jesus! That's what it's all about.

See Paul on Mars Hill. He used quotes from cultural icons in order to preach his message. You adapt, without sacrificing the Gospel, in order to reach the lost.

Song of Solomon is a clear cut example of what a healthy Christian marriage is supposed to look like. God made sex for that reason...to freaking enjoy it in marriage! Embrace it! I guess one of my questions would be, "How's your sex life?"

The Bible is R-rated and you should preach it as such.

Another question is, "How many people have you saved lately? How many have you rescued from the eternal lake of burning sulfur by blasting the evident work of God?

You're in my prayers, brother, because I hate to see what God has in store for you if you continue down this road. You try to bring down his ministry, and it won't turn out well. I love you.

Daryl said...

"The Bible is R-rated and you should preach it as such."

Ummm, I've been reading the bible since I was a kid and new saw any of it as R-rated. The only exceptions were in some of the prophetic accounts of Israel's idolatry, and while I remember thinking it was wierd, even as a 10-11 year old I understood that the the issue was idolatry and sin, not sex.

So...no the bible is not R-rated. Whenever it discusses sex it is always careful and appropriate.

By the way, any easy test of R-rated is what damage would it do to a kid reading it...I read it cover to cover before I was 10 and it did nothing but good for me.

heath lloyd said...

"Holiness is the missing note from the contemporary evangelical message."

You said it brother.

Thank you and Dr MacArthur for tackling the unpopular. I thank God for you both.

donsands said...

Trey, art thou a troll? Methinks thou art.

Chris said...

So necessary, and so timely for such a program! The vast majority of evangelical Christians are neither, and the present landscape of Christendom today makes Corinth look tame. It is so sad that such a high number of hell-bound, unregenerate, and essentially pagan people dominate the evangelical profile: in pews, pulpits, so-called Christian colleges, and bookshelves disguised as "Christian" authors. I am confident, without even knowing the specific details of the recording you'll be doing today, that John will speak solid Biblical Truth boldly and unwaveringly into the wasteland of mediocrity and compromise!

mike said...

Trey,
dude, put the koolaid down. NO ONE who says "the Bible is R rated should ever quote Proverbs 30:5-6.
we love our sin, men come and tell us that it is K to love our sin, SO we love those guys. they even get to be our new prophets and apostles. then when some "legalist" holds up scripture, we defend "our enablers" to the death. next you should say "touch not God's annointed".
evangelicalism has gone out into the world, collected the worst that it has to offer, and attempted to put frosting on it and sell it as cake.
read the book of James, or ANY of the red letter parts of Matthew 5 to 7.
we all must repent, surrender, submit...

The Squirrel said...

"The Bible is R-rated and you should preach it as such."

The Bible certainly deals frankly with real life and real life issues, including sex. But neither the FCC nor the MPAA would take exception with any of the words used. So, the Bible is not R-rated. To claim that it is, is to misunderstand and distort the message of the Scripture, as the Scriptures never describe any sexual acts in any detail. And the pastor in the pulpit shouldn't, either.

Sex is great. After all, it was God's idea in the first place. But it's a private thing, reserved exclusively for a husband and wife. How hard is that to understand?

How does saying, "God designed sex for a specific place and time," equate with, "Christians hate sex?"

~Squirrel

PuritanReformed said...

Trey,

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at your post...

stratagem said...

"It is so sad that such a high number of hell-bound, unregenerate, and essentially pagan people dominate the evangelical profile: in pews, pulpits, so-called Christian colleges, and bookshelves disguised as "Christian" authors."

Yes, and while the Bible defines a role for Pastors, Elders, and Teachers within the church, it doesn't define teachers for the church as being authors in the publishing industry. So, why do we have these non-Biblically defined "teachers" in the first place? Why does the church give them an ear? That's led to a lot of this nonsense that we are discussing on this article, and many others.

mike said...

western evangelicalism's specialty right now, is golden calf manufacturing.
we poll the world. and since everyone knows that the congrgations are that as much as hristian, we make a new god that they will worship. then in the vein of tolerance and acceptance, many true shepherds are afraid to speak the truth.
we will lose every election held if we break the ties with the conservative ungodly, but for the sake of the elect, we must.
let us try to hate all sin as God does, and let us begin to put the ungodly out of positions of leadership.
we are the called apart right?
it seems that the most popular message being taught by our most popular mega teachers is that the bible is clay to be shapes as we wish, to support our rebellion against it's author.
i find myself in total agreement with part of what Trey said.
"You're in my prayers, brother, because I hate to see what God has in store for you if you continue down this road. You try to bring down his ministry, and it won't turn out well. I love you."
only difference is to whom it is said, let us fear God more than lonliness.

stratagem said...

Trey

Hey Dog.

Are the people who are being saved repentant, or not? Do you know?

Just asking.

Strat

Phil Johnson said...

Donsands: "I watched the video where this group of people set up a "ministry" outreach right smack in the midst of the pornography conference . . . Then you have the Fred Phelps type of guy outside."

The video Don is referring to is #20 (currently the lead video) at xxxchurch.com, and it perfectly encapsulates the worst tendencies of both sides.

The guy whose only message is "love" physically assaults the guy whose only message is "burn in hell." They are both bad caricatures of what false "ministry" looks like. It is disturbing and depressing in the extreme.

What's most instructive, however, is the attitude of the "Jesus loves porn stars" gang. Their measure of success (and they say this over and over) is how well people in the porn industry speak of them. They epitomize the worst tendencies of they neo-evangelical evangelistic strategy. They think by eliminating everything "negative" from Jesus' message and being as cool and likable as possible, they can get people to like Jesus, and that will "save" them, whether they continue in the porn industry or not. What they are actually peddling is false hope for unrepentant sinners.

olan strickland said...

Some of neo-evangelicalism's favorite jargon—missional, contextualization, authenticity—has been tortured and misappropriated in order to justify and institutionalize gross worldliness.

Trey, you must have missed this quote from Phil's post so there it is!

olan strickland said...

Phil, could you ask Dr. MacArthur this question: In your years of systematic exposition of the Scriptures, how many times have you found it necessary to engage in explicit sex talk in order to remain true to the text?

Strong Tower said...

@Frank

JMac responds here? Kuul.

Can't wait until he does, so if those questions were pose sed to me:

1. The Scritpure advises discretion and sober mindedness. So the consideration of the subject matter should include the results the discussion might have. As in, though there may be great freedom, we should not become enslaved to anything, nor should our actions lead to others becoming enslaved.

2. Scripture is not given to be given to all without consideration of the target audience, Hebrews 5:11-14, 6:1-3 and a wise teacher will know that and will know his audience, also. Strong meat is for meat eaters, and milk for milk suckers. This is then also an appeal to #1. What, where when and to whom, should be the questions asked before the presentation of the "hard" core message.

@Trey- "Another question is, "How many people have you saved lately? How many have you rescued from the eternal lake of burning sulfur by blasting the evident work of God?"

None of us are able to save anyone. So obviously, not you.

@strat- "Why does the church give them an ear?"

This is such a good question. How can it be stopped though? Who will act as the censors and what if they censors what is good packaged food. I dislike the idea that churches embrace the pastor-in-a-box approach and rather believe in strict scrutiny and that when books and programmed teaching is presented it should be "taught" by the teaching staff with due attention paid to the material being "right." That being said strat, we can't close the bookstores nor shut down the net, so the real question, then, is not that the church gives them an ear but must be how well the church equips those ears to hear.

Daniel said...

Hi Phil, thanks for the post and diligent concern for the church's holiness. I agree with much of what you have said, especially in the context where people who are not married can be easily tempted. My question is the flip side - where can a Christian couple turn to for help with sex (especially if there is not a solid Christian qualified to talk about this subject with them, or they cannot afford one). Is this not a possible target for some of these books? A strong sex life is quite important for a healthy marriage and helps alleviate many temptations for both parties, so where could a couple that is struggling in this area turn to for help?

Thanks

Solameanie said...

Wow, wow and wow some more.

I'm glad you and John are addressing this as forcefully as you are. Seems like many other evangelicals have been shouted down to the point they're afraid of raising any objections to this growing salaciousness.

Solameanie said...

If you all wouldn't mind another wry observation, I find it very curious we seem to have this overarching need for manuals, how-to books, videos and sermons on the subject of sex. It seems to me the human race has managed to educate itself on the subject and procreate quite adequately without needing a primer.

Strong Tower said...

salaciousness-

Can I get that with French Dressing?

Sola, don't you know that without a manual, the modern wouldn't know how to do anything.

ljchan said...

Strong Tower: "Strong meat is for meat eaters, and milk for milk suckers" is not an objective-sounding comment, and immediately conveys a less than intelligent posture. If you sincerely want to talk with Phil and the guys, I recommend you be sincere.

As for me, I would hate to have to preview sermons for my kids to listen to. So go, Phil! And may the Lord use your interview with Pastor MacArthur to truly glorify Him in this delicate matter.

Robert said...

Years ago I read the journals of a Methodist circuit riding preacher from before the Civil War. Among the things I remember from that was his statement that he had never preached on the Seventh Commandment to a mixed audience--he reserved that for the men only meetings they held on Sunday afternoon. It was truly a different world once.

David said...

Two questions for Dr. MacArthur:

1) Is this a particular judgment from God on what has become the modern Evangelical Church, in line with OT judgments while also incorporating the Romans 1 template?

2) Why does it seem that so many of these pastors encouraging this stuff are the sons of pastors - preachers kids - including the one in Grapevine TXXX who made famous the sex challenge? Why have so many sons been given the keys to the car and driven the car into a ditch - with seeming delight and diplomatic immunity?

mike said...

Daniel,
my wife had cancer. so the doctor perscribed chemo. it seems that with the help of God, it was good for her.
so should we mass produce that stuuf, and give it to everyone because it helps some?
time and a place, even for every good thing.
we are really trying very hard ti justify the abhorant in this.
funny how we know not to sell books on how to be a christian alchoholic, or set up a bar by the pulpit, and Jesus even made wine in public.

Frank Turk said...

Trey --

um, yeah.

Sam said...

Here is an example of a pastor who has preached "Bringing Sexy Back" but did not watch his own holiness:

http://www.garylamb.org/2009/06/07/hardest-post-ive-ever-written/

I think you see the pendulum swinging way too far from the days of legalistic religion and now freedom in Christ is being preached with little to no call to personal holiness.

Douglas Kofi Adu-Boahen said...

Technically at 18, I ought to be in support of preachers shooting from the hip, but then I think of the fact I struggle with lust and hearing such stuff doesn't help at all.

Sir Aaron said...

I'd recommend against using a title with the words "the case against." It is very common in many evangelical writings today.

Question: In regards to what used to be termed "sex ed" what is the appropriate place and method to teach this? I'm referring to the clinical descriptions of men and women's anatomical features as well as the mechanics of how they work both inside and outside sex. Is it wrong to have books with such descriptions?

Question: Is there ever a place and time for married persons to discuss the more intimate aspects of their sexual life? (And I don't mean for gossip or lurid purposes).

I think I have figured out where I'd draw the line but obviously Christians generally are stuggling with the appropriate time and place to discuss certain issues. We wouldn't talk about personal medical problems in front of an entire congregation but for some reason we think we need to discuss the mechanics of sex there.

trogdor said...

Question for Dr. MacArthur. Maybe a bit afield of where you want to go, though.

How should we as Christians view non-Christian marriage? I ask because I heard this morning of another couple deciding to get married after having lived together for a few years, and I'm not sure how to respond. Should I be thrilled that they're going to stop playing house and finally commit? Wonder why they're so excited about it since they've already been living like it anyway? Be happy that they're dropping the charade, yet sad that they've settled for less than they could have had?

I really don't know how to feel about such news - there certainly isn't anywhere near the joy I experience when a Christian couple who's done it right comes together. Since cohabitation and premarital promiscuity are - well, not just accepted, but actually advised - this sort of thing is becoming more and more common. And I'd really like to know if there's some response I'm overlooking.

Chris said...

Trey:

Regarding your question about the lake of fire and those to whom Phil or John MacArthur have extended the saving gospel of salvation "lately" in attempt to rescue the lost: I'd venture to say that because they preach the TRUE GOSPEL--the WHOLE GOSPEL--in pulpit, in print, and through various electronic venues worldwide daily, then your answer is just that: daily. The lost are being rescued from eternal damnation daily because faithful men like these preach the Word with a holy fear of God in humble, loving submission to Christ with true joy.

As for false teachers, (carnal apostates & heretics) and their followers, who corrupt the glorious gospel by attempting to marry it to the world and its ways, they are not only failing to rescue anyone from plunging into the lake of fire, but they are actually working alongside Satan and his demons to push the lost into it, where they themselves will one day find their own souls residing for all of eternity!

Mesa Mike said...

@Trey-
> Another question is, "How many
> people have you saved lately?"

Ummm... Exactly zero. The same as everyone else.
God is much more efficient in that task.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Peace to you!

Some points to notice in the evangelical world, in relation with modesty:

1. You can't find a good sermon or article about the virgin Mary.
There is a need to understand the deep spiritual meaning of the purity of virginity (without opposing it to the purity of marriage, of course), and of the place of God-glorifying singleness. Few are those who can grasp an important sermon like "Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters".

N.B.: If the Lord has not given you to remain single, this doesn't mean such sermons are not for you. The purity of marriage and the purity of singleness are closely related.

2. The majority of evangelicals allow divorce in case of fornication, which is the exact opposite of what Jesus said:
Marriage and divorce.
And thus they misunderstand the true meaning of the covenant of marriage and they do not respect it.

Etc.

Volumes can be written about this matter.

Let's pray for all the brethren.

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

DJP said...

Oh dear.

Sir Aaron said...

Solameanie:

I agree with some of what you say. Before I was really saved, I was promiscouous. I can tell you that I got along just fine without the Kama Sutra. On the other hand, we did go without antibiotics for centuries too.

Where I do find a need, is something more along the lines of a clinical anatomical guide that does describe the bodily reactions before, during, and after sex in a clinical manner. Not that this needs or should be handled at church. But in a homsechooling or Christian school setting, this can be a tricky situation.

There is also a need to discuss the Biblical reason for marriage (i.e. because you can't control your desire for sex). I think we need to stop encouraging the world's model of waiting until your 40 to get married so that you can get all of your advanced degrees, have a house paid for in cash, and achieved all your career goals.

Hayden said...

I would ask him if Mr. Driscoll has called or written him since the articles he posted on 'The Rape of Solomon's Song'? and if there was any discussion, 'Was it fruitful'?

Micah said...

I guess I am a little confused. I haven't read the book by Lauren Winner, but the interviews I've read - and the amazon book reviews - don't seem to show any obvious problem.
She seems to argue that we should treat pre-marital sex like we should treat other sin - with accountability and frank discussion; that "just say no" is inadequate (I think she's arguing that we need to focus on God-control instead of self-control); and basically just that the way we talk about sex, particularly for women, is inadequate. What is the problem with this? Is it her presentation, rather than her content?
Am I missing the forest for the trees or something?

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"because you can't control your desire for sex" never was the biblical reason for marriage...

Such are the misunderstandings...

Peace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Sir Aaron said...

Disciple:

Didn't you write volumes on it already? It's wrong, but it is certainly lengthy.

Sir Aaron said...

Disciple, it certainly was Paul's reason.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Sir Aaron,

Can you please share with us how you know it's wrong?

May the Lord bless you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Daryl said...

Disciple of Christ,

Perhaps the reason for no sermons on the virgin Mary is that she isn't. She was, of course, but only until after the birth of her first, the rest came the way babies generally do.

Sir Aaron,

You said "There is also a need to discuss the Biblical reason for marriage (i.e. because you can't control your desire for sex)."

I think is a huge and unwarranted stretch to say that that is the Biblical reason for marriage. Say rather that it is one of the ways that Paul suggests dealing with lust, but it's hardly the way the bible talks about marriage.
Marriage is an image of Christ and the Church. That's why it must remain pure (besides the fact that God said so...)

I do agree that we need to stop waiting until so late to marry. Recognizing that there will always be legitimate exceptions, surely we should be teaching our boys to get on with the business of growing up so that they will be ready sooner to marry and shepherd their family.

But we're drifting from the post I fear...

Jake said...

Trying to bring a little balance to the discussion - People who say the Bible is R-rated and don't qualify what they mean are overstating the point. People who say the Bible isn't R-rated in any way shape or form need to read Genesis 38, the book of Judges, and the prophets. (And Paul's use of "skubalon" in Philippians, while they're at it...) Some of that stuff is R-rated and, let's be honest, some of the bits in Judges are probably NC-17.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

And can you please quote Paul giving that reason?

By the way, did he give it without a context, like the Qur'an does?

Be in Peace!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Dear Daryl, you said:

"Disciple of Christ,

Perhaps the reason for no sermons on the virgin Mary is that she isn't. She was, of course, but only until after the birth of her first, the rest came the way babies generally do."

So she was, before the birth of our Lord. And we should understand the importance of her virginity in the plan of God.

The Lord be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Jake, does God approve of the sexual sins about which you read in the Bible?

trogdor said...

Disciple, it's really hard to take your expertise on mawwiage seriously if you don't at least recognize where he's getting that. Seriously. You may think he's reading it wrong or disagree with the conclusion, but if you expect us to read your long articles about mawwiage, you should probably at least demonstrate a modicum of familiarity with the second-longest discourse on mawwiage-related subjects in all of scripture (EDIT: after Song of Solomon, of course. Duh.). Just sayin'.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Dear trogdor,

I guess you should try to find any passage where Paul says that is the reason for marriage, instead of giving me your subjective opinion about the length of the articles of the brethren to which I linked.

Blessings!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Sir Aaron said...

Disciple, I have no intention of entertaining you any further.

Daryl: You actually got my point. I was using a bit of hyperbole for brevity's sake. The context of the total chapter you might be able to conclude that Paul's reasoning for recommending singleness was due to the immediate concern of persecution. So he may have been saying, Because of the immediate threat of persecution I think you should remain single unless you can't control your lusts, in which case, it's ok for you to get married.

My point is really that in order to make chasity attractive, we have conjured up this myth of your one true love and images of magical joining on the night of marriage. On the flip side, we don't acknowledge that one of the reasons for marriage is give us an appropriate outlet for our lusts (which is why husbands and wives are told not to deny one another). It's difficult to say that such is true if we're also telling our kids that they need to wait until well past their sexual peaks to get married. (and I'm starting to see the side effects of such within some couples who now cannot have kids they eagerly desire, which, I think is in part due to their older age).

Sir Aaron said...

Trogdor, thanks for your comment. You and Daryl both got where I was really going. It's obvious that this other person has some other agenda.

The Squirrel said...

Jake:

"Some of that stuff is R-rated and, let's be honest, some of the bits in Judges are probably NC-17."

None of the words used in the Bible would qualify for an "R" rating. "PG" maybe.

Of course, if every act that the Bible said took place was filmed it would be NC-17, but that isn't what we're talking about, is it?

~Squirrel

Sir Aaron said...

Squirrel:

That would probably be true with the battle scenes as well. But we don't see a need to describe war battles in excruciating detail.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Dear Sir Aaron, you said:

“Disciple, I have no intention of entertaining you any further.”

I am sorry that you judge the reason of my presence here in that way… But I am not here to be entertained...

As you can’t answer my questions, then I remind you of what I said above concerning the importance of the meaning of virginity, of singleness and of marriage.

The Lord Jesus loves you and wants you to be saved.
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Daryl said...

Sir Aaron,

Yup, I can agree with that. The only thing I'd adjust is the "outlet for our lusts" bit. Say rather, God given desires, and I'm right there with you.

I only make the distinction because lust is sin, my desire for my wife is not.

In any case, the loss of chaste speech from the pulpit really does contribute to the problem, if only because the church then ceases to be a safe place.
Too often we translate "safe place" to mean a safe place where I can let my dirty laundry flap all over the place (or even safely deny that the laundry is dirty) rather than a safe place where temptation is significantly reduced.

And for our friendly neighbourhood Disciple. Chastity in marriage is identical to chastity in singleness. In both cases we are forbidden to take that which is not ours. There's no special holiness to single chastity over and above married chastity, particularly considering that all holiness comes from God, not us.

Phil Johnson said...

Micah: "What is the problem with this? Is it her presentation, rather than her content?"

Well, yes, mostly. Even The New York Times gets that point better than the average evangelical. But her content isn't all that great, either. Read the articles I linked to.

There seems to be an assumption among neo-evangelicals that someone with a long history of promiscuity is better equipped to speak on the virtues of chastity than someone who has truly been chaste. Just like profane language and sacrilegious jokes are supposedly more effective vehicles for reaching young people with the gospel than wholesome words would be.

The medium is not so distinct from the message as to be utterly irrelevant. Marshall Mcluhan tried to tell us that.

The Squirrel said...

"That would probably be true with the battle scenes as well. But we don't see a need to describe war battles in excruciating detail."

Aaron, spot on! I was thinking of the beheadings, infanticide and disembowelments as well as the sex scenes. Saying it happened, and describing it in detail are two entirely different things.

~Squirrel

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"And for our friendly neighbourhood Disciple. Chastity in marriage is identical to chastity in singleness. In both cases we are forbidden to take that which is not ours. There's no special holiness to single chastity over and above married chastity, particularly considering that all holiness comes from God, not us."

Beautiful.

But do you consider yourself a slave who needs to be "forbidden" sinful things in order to hate them?

And does sexual sin only mean taking what is not yours?

Let's ponder on these things by the Lord's Grace!

Disciple of Jesus Christ

stratagem said...

Strong Tower:
"@strat- 'Why does the church give them an ear?' (that is, christian authors via the publishing industry)
This is such a good question. How can it be stopped though?"

Answer: If the churches would start making the point that the teachers in the local church (whom God has raised up) need to get their teaching from the Word directly, and those being taught by them need to get their teaching from the teachers in the local church, we wouldn't find every error imaginable coming into the church, as we do now. Most of these errors come from a reliance on books.

Including the error being discussed in today's article.

Strong Tower said...

As for me, I would hate to have to preview sermons for my kids to listen to. So go, Phil! And may the Lord use your interview with Pastor MacArthur to truly glorify Him in this delicate matter.

I was disagreeing with Phil?

I think he is saying quite the opposite of what you seem to suggest. I really think that he isn't suggesting that one approach this with a laissez-faire, flip attitude, at all. But is instead suggesting that "previewing sermons" for the kids, in one sense, is appropriate. Cuz that is in fact what he is doing:

World Wide Web are filled with places that aren't safe for family viewing—everything from "Christian" sex shops to lurid advice columns.

and it goes beyond the net: Sermons with graphic sexual themes and church-wide sex challenges


So... I suppose that taking your children to an xxxchurch or granting them open access to the puter, is in your future?

Well if not, then, if you seriously think the author of Hebrews serious, or that it really is a serious matter of wisdom in when, where and what is presented, for the building up and not tearing down of the hearer, or that you should be concerned what teachers your children listen to, okay.

And, if you seriously wanted to be intellectually sincere, you need to sincerely read my comment before responding out of some misplaced sycophancy.

Seriously.

Then, you would see that my comment was for consideration by the seriously minded who have an appreciation for well regulated (i.e., equipped, not one who has taken an aperient) presenter.

But I do apologize, I wasn't thinking that the intellectually impacted would be reading Pyro.

If those are your picutures at your site they are nicely done.

@Sir Aaron-

An interesting phenomenon- Some studies find the frequency sexual activity outside of marriage and age of entrance into sexual activity is in direct proportion to the age and fequency of explicit sexuality education. As is implied by what Phil said about Haggard, it appears that those who are drawn in this direction have the very proclivities that are the concern.

There is a titillation factor- perhaps the why of Sola's point. It is not because we need them that we use sex manuals. Salacious speech does not necessarily mean "dirty speech" but may simply be that sexuality speech which is handled inappropriately. Now, that is something different than the crass and careless presentations of many today. However, the open door policy which is without regard to appropriate treatment, is where it begins. I think. We should be wise enough to know better. It is not a matter of legalism as some might think. We neither want that nor license. There is a place and time, and a right way as you suggest.

Seach Pysiology of sex and you'll have more than enough references of where to go for info.

Daryl said...

"But do you consider yourself a slave who needs to be "forbidden" sinful things in order to hate them?"

We yes, actually, as a believer I am a slave to Christ and must be told what to hate. It is more natural for all of us to love sin than it is to hate it, and so we practice hating what God tells us, in his Word, what we must hate.
To deny that...is hugley problematic and, I would argue, grossly unbiblical.

"And does sexual sin only mean taking what is not yours?"

Not only, but violating the Temple of the Holy Spirit is no different for the single person than it is for the married person. The marriage bed is not a concession, it is a holy thing, so to elevate single chastity over married chastity is far from a biblical idea.

Mary was not chosen because virginity in singleness is somehow a higher virtue than non-virginity in marriage. A married woman (or even a promiscuous unmarried woman) can hardly demomstrate that her child is from God without some serious doubt. Mary, on the other hand, creates no such doubt.

JTW said...

I'm reading through Mere Christianity again and this morning my bookmark happened to land where Lewis comments: "They tell you sex has become a mess because it was hushed up. But for the last twenty years it has not been hushed up. It has been chattered about all day long. Yet it is still in a mess. If hushing up had been the cause of the trouble, ventilation would have set it right. But it has not. I think it is the other way around."

It is sobering to think that Lewis lamented the lack of modesty in his time. Can you imagine what the Puritans would think of our current condition.


It seems that we have taken our cues from Kinsey, and we know what sort of man he was.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

“We yes, actually, as a believer I am a slave to Christ and must be told what to hate. It is more natural for all of us to love sin than it is to hate it, and so we practice hating what God tells us, in his Word, what we must hate.
To deny that...is hugley problematic and, I would argue, grossly unbiblical.”

"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)

”Not only,”

Then what else?

“but violating the Temple of the Holy Spirit is no different for the single person than it is for the married person. The marriage bed is not a concession, it is a holy thing, so to elevate single chastity over married chastity is far from a biblical idea.”

I didn’t elevate singleness over marriage. I clearly said that the purity of virginity is not to be opposed to the purity of marriage.

”Mary was not chosen because virginity in singleness is somehow a higher virtue than non-virginity in marriage. A married woman (or even a promiscuous unmarried woman) can hardly demomstrate that her child is from God without some serious doubt. Mary, on the other hand, creates no such doubt.”

Mary was not chosen for any merit in her.

But was her virginity’s purpose only to “demonstrate” that her child is “from” God?

Grace to you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Sir Aaron said...

Daryl:

fair enough.

Phil: Did you notice her views on abortion, evolution, and politics at the end of the article? I think her views on those issues coincide with her anti-Biblical views on chastity.

Dsiciple: Don't confuse can't with will not. It's not that I can't feed but will not feed...

Phil Johnson said...

JTW:

Great quote from Lewis. That's my point exactly, but he says it so well, in so few words. I'll use that.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"Dsiciple: Don't confuse can't with will not. It's not that I can't feed but will not feed..."

So it would be better if you didn't make any comment to my replies as you can't (will not) defend what you said.

Be blessed!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Sir Aaron said...

JTW:

Can you imagine what the Puritans would think of our current condition.

Ever seen the movie Time Changer? It was a "Christian" movie about a guy who was writing a book and wanted to take out a couple references to make the book more attractive. Another Christian brother made a time machine and let him go forward in time to see what happens in the future. Needless to say, the guy thought he had jumped forward to the end times.

Decent movie.

Sir Aaron said...

Strong Tower:

I agree, although I there is a difference between clinical almost medical explanations of physiological processes and a "how to" manual. There is real need for scientific understanding from the Christian perspective. Of course, such a thing would not be salacious.

ljchan said...

Strong Tower, yeah, I guess it wouldn't be the first time I've been "intellectually impacted". But I think you misunderstood. I just felt that your comment betrayed a certain unnecessary disdain, and I wished to address that. However, I was in no way meaning that Phil was suggesting any sort of "laissez-faire, flip attitude, at all", as you noted. On the contrary, I appreciate very much the way he and Pastor John are approaching this matter which has become so apparently volatile. But in the context of what others had posted about their pastors preaching what were inappropriate sermons, I wrote the "as for me part". I did not suggest previewing sermons as a solution at all. In the context of what has been written, it seems that much of the North American church is heading in such a direction that(facetiously) I may have to preview sermons.

No I did not take an aperient, but I did have food poisoning on Saturday.

I'm glad you enjoyed the photos at my site. Yes, I did take them myself, unless otherwise noted.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Let's ponder on it:

What comes to your mind when I say "virginity"?

Why did the Lord talk about ten virgins when speaking about the visible Church that is waiting for Him?

Grace to you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

DJP said...

Wow, Phil, that NYT article... the words "inadequately discipled" do come to mind.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

I encourage you to read the following documents about the meaning of virginity:

Questions on the subject of virginity

What is the importance of choosing a virgin for a wife?

The Virgin Birth


Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Jake said...

Disciple - The point isn't approval or disapproval. Clearly God disapproves of the act being described, but the point is he describes it. God doesn't shy away from messy details. With that being said, clearly there is a need to be sensitive to context in how we describe the horrifying effects of sin in the world. I do agree to a point that the evangelical obsession with sex has gotten out of hand. And I do fully affirm the need to speak of holiness and I share the concern with how those themes are neglected. My only concern is that we not overreact to what was itself an overreaction by evangelicals to the previously-held Victorian attitudes about sex.

That's why I interjected - I don't disagree with the larger point being made, I just want to make the point that the Bible does describe graphic sin in detail, even as it is condemning it. (Though I think I may be dragging the discussion off topic slightly, since Phil's point seems to be that just because something is biblically approved does not mean it needs to be discussed graphically.)

Squirrel - Read my comment again. Paul uses the word "skubalon" in Philippians. Translated into English the word falls somewhere between "crap" and "s***." So, depending on how you define profanity, Paul does indulge in it in Philippians. Again, context is enormously important and I'm not about to go dropping f bombs in church on a Sunday morning. That would be completely inappropriate. But my argument is that the inappropriateness doesn't come from the word itself - as if God is some sort of cosmic George Carlin with his seven words you can't say on TV - but rather from the heart of the person speaking and the context in which the word is spoken.

Apologies if this is dragging the discussion off topic, if you choose to delete my comment, I'll take no offense. That said, I find these discussions very interesting and if anyone wishes to continue discussing, feel free to e-mail me at the address given in my profile.

dougvir said...

I have been greatly distressed and exercised by this issue over the last few months. And I am trying to discern the spiritual condition of the preachers who cuss, talk dirty and sully the pulpit with unnecessary explicit sexual references.

I am no prude - I come from a military family and have spent time in the military myself. I also work in the French culture where people are somewhat more open on sexual issues than those from an English culture.

Some leaders we greatly respect are trying hard to influence/reform at least one of the preachers involved in this type of talk. We wish them success, but I have a gut feeling that perhaps such behavior is an indication of a deep underlying moral weakness/failure. Time will tell.

There have always been preachers who liked to talk about sex more than was necessary or seemly. In my experience, many of them have eventfully been exposed for their own moral problems.

Phil and John MacArthur are right. This new openness on sex among evangelicals is not a positive development.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"Disciple - The point isn't approval or disapproval. Clearly God disapproves of the act being described, but the point is he describes it. God doesn't shy away from messy details. With that being said, clearly there is a need to be sensitive to context in how we describe the horrifying effects of sin in the world."

Now, the question is: To whom does God describe that, and WHAT is the thing that He describes?

CONTEXT.

Disciple of Jesus Christ

Phil Johnson said...

Jake: "Paul uses the word "skubalon" in Philippians. Translated into English the word falls somewhere between "crap" and "s***." So, depending on how you define profanity, Paul does indulge in it in Philippians."

See, that's demonstrably untrue, and I have made this point several times. The word is more like the English term excrement. In fact, it had a broader range of semantic meanings, more akin to the English term "waste." It's fairly common in secular Greek literature, and while it describes the worst kind of filth from the sewer, there's no stigma of inappropriateness attached to the use of the word itself--just like the English expression "filth from the sewer" avoids the cultural stigma of the s-word and some of its borderline variants.

Since Paul expressly forbade the use of language that was deemed taboo, to insist that he himself did so in Philippians 3 is exegetically irresponsible.

Here's a link to part of the entry from TDNT. The full text of that source is likewise helpful and worth reading carefully before you further perpetuate the myth that skubalon is the ancient Greek equivalent of the English s-word.

Mike Riccardi said...

Paul uses the word "skubalon" in Philippians. Translated into English the word falls somewhere between "crap" and...

I hear this over and over again. Quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of it, and will reject it out of hand until I see a citation of a Greek Lexicon after it.

The following is from Phil's plenary session talk at the Shepherds' Conference this past March:

Someone says, "Yes but Paul himself used the word skubalon, and that means dung or excrement." Actually, that word had a range of possible meanings, and the way it was used in secular Greek literature explodes the myth that it was considered taboo. It was a strong word, certainly, and I have no doubt that Paul used it deliberately because it was strong. But it wasn't the sort of vile expression that was considered off limits in mixed company. It's sometimes translated "rubbish," and that's one of the possible connotations. ... He probably did use the word to signify dung—manure; feces—the worst kind of filth. But you don't need to use Saxon four-letter words in order to convey Paul's idea clearly.

The Squirrel said...

Jake:

"Squirrel - Read my comment again. Paul uses the word "skubalon" in Philippians. Translated into English the word falls somewhere between "crap" and "s***." "

One instance of a "rough" word out of how many that Paul wrote? Out of the whole NT? The whole of the Bible? Hm, yeah, I guess you're right... < /sarcasm>

"I just want to make the point that the Bible does describe graphic sin in detail"

Actually, the Bible doesn't describe sin in graphic detail. The Bible says that sin happened, the Bible says what sin happened, the Bible does not detail the sin.

For example, the Bible tells us that Judah paid Tamar for sex (Genesis 38.) The Bible does not tell us what they did, how long it took, nor any other detail like that. We know that they had sex, and we know that she became pregnant, and that's it.

The Bible is never salacious, and nor should the sermon be.

~Squirrel

Mike Riccardi said...

LoL... sorry Phil. Had the same idea. Didn't refresh the page before posting.

The Squirrel said...

RE: skubalon, I wrote, "One instance of a "rough" word out of how many that Paul wrote?"

I retract that, and instead say, "Yeah, what Phil said!"

:o)

~Squirrel

Mesa Mike said...

A bit OT: Speaking of "Evangelicals", I found this strange assertion from a Lutheran, who was critiquing modern Evangelicalism:

"So, Evangelicalism is a non creedal, non-sacramental, Arminian branch of the Reformed Church united by a belief in an intense experience of faith."

I think this guy must be talking about krypto-Arminians and not true Calvinists.

Frank Turk said...

I just wanted to take a minute and welcome Phil Johnson back to the blogosophere.

I personally missed him.

shallbe said...

Just want to add my .02 to those who have already confessed how hard it is for a single person to have to listen to a sermon on sex.

Was married 18 years. Widowed 10 years ago. Celibate since.

It's tough. Don't make it tougher.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Please, can anyone show me where the word "sex" is used in the Bible?

Thank you.
Disciple of Jesus Christ

stratagem said...

Scuba lawn? Only when there's a flash flood.

Mesa Mike said...

There are lotsa mentions of sex in the Bible.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"There are lotsa mentions of sex in the Bible."

So the Bible was written in English?

...

Disciple of Jesus Christ

DJP said...

So, is there a point to your questions beyond keeping yourself in the center of the meta?

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"So, is there a point to your questions beyond keeping yourself in the center of the meta?"

Is this addressed to me?

Am I not free to ask the questions that I see helpful to teach people the biblical truth?

Thank you for finding my comments interesting...

Disciple of Jesus Christ

Sir Aaron said...

translation: "No"

DJP said...

Yeah, I get that.

Phil Johnson said...

Disciple: "Am I not free to ask the questions that I see helpful to teach people the biblical truth?"

Have you read the rules in the right sidebar?

donsands said...

"Was married 18 years. Widowed 10 years ago. Celibate since.

It's tough. Don't make it tougher."

Thanks for sharing the good testimony of God's grace.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"Have you read the rules in the right sidebar?"

Yes. But I don't see why you ask me.

Can you please explain?

SniperedPastor said...

A Question for Dr. MacArthur: Is this topic related to what Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians, the early chapters, especially in regards to the word "wisdom"?

Boerseuntjie said...

My question:

When do the ElderS (Multiplicity) and the Church (At large) have the warrant to issue a declaration that an Elder-Pastor has become UNREPENTANT in sexual lewdness and sin in his speech?

How would we see the Scriptural call to repentance in action and when do we know that the person is not repentant but in a pattern of din which he denies - so as to disqualify himself in the office of responsibility as an Overseer of the Body of Christ?

Can we judge this by a Romans 14-15 attitude towards the weak in the faith; who have been recently freed from sexual idolatary or are still struggling in that area as those who are weak in the faith?

Your fellow bondslave for the glory of our Triune YAHWEH Alone in Christ Jesus Alone, by His sure mercies and gift of grace Alone,
W

Will S said...

I have a general question. Isn't the vulgarity of language measured by the offensiveness to the broader culture? In other words, Phil has no issue saying "excrement" but will not write "s***" (and neither will I for fear of being banned). But I know that in most of our culture the s-word is not a very offensive word. For example, I work in large corporation and it is not rare to hear respectable executives drop the s-word regularly. PG movies are allowed to have a couple usages of the word without even being bumped to PG-13. You hear the word being used by pretty much everyone over the age of 10 (and I remember hearing it plenty from friends when I was younger than that). I think one could argue that the only people who consider the word vulgar are Christians. And even if that argument is stretching it in 2009 do we have any doubt that it will be true in 2019?

So should Christians lead the way on polite language or is Paul's command meant to prevent us from violating the standards of the society and thereby bringing shame on Christ's name via crudity?

Just asking.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"My question:

When do the ElderS (Multiplicity) and the Church (At large) have the warrant to issue a declaration that an Elder-Pastor has become UNREPENTANT in sexual lewdness and sin in his speech?

How would we see the Scriptural call to repentance in action and when do we know that the person is not repentant but in a pattern of din which he denies - so as to disqualify himself in the office of responsibility as an Overseer of the Body of Christ?

Can we judge this by a Romans 14-15 attitude towards the weak in the faith; who have been recently freed from sexual idolatary or are still struggling in that area as those who are weak in the faith?

Your fellow bondslave for the glory of our Triune YAHWEH Alone in Christ Jesus Alone, by His sure mercies and gift of grace Alone,
W"

An overseer is not supposed to be a new believer or a believer who is weak in faith. The Word of God is clear in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 about the character of an overseer (bishop):

1. He must be above reproach. There must not be any doubt about him. You won't be in doubt whether he repented or not.

2. The husband of one wife.

3. Temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable.

4. Able to teach.

5. Not addicted to alcohol or pugnacious.

6. Gentle, peaceable.

7. Free from the love of money.

8. A person who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with ALL dignity. And thus he will know how to take care of the church of God.

9. NOT a new convert, so that he may not become conceited and fall into condemnation.

10. He must have a good reputation with those outside the Church so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

mike said...

almost every post today has been either
1) go get em Phil and John, this is crazy and destructive, or
2) i was just wondering, because i kind of agree with you, but isn't it posssible that maybe it isn't so bad if we only talk dirty a little, cuz we really like it and lots of other people like it and after all we don't make our women wear veils anymore. i know that God's word said seperate, called out, love God, hate the world, anyone placing his hand on the till and looking back and all, but we live in a new time now.
since we have lots of new "converts" to our mega clubs, and our cool pastor is way cooler that the pastors we used to have, even my friends who hate God like my church now, shouldn't you maybe just calm down and just celibrate how we are being blessed by our new approachs and stuff?
i mean thank you God that i am not like the guy praying thank you god i am not like that guy, you know? dude?
sorry i got a little vomit in my mouth just then.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

That was a strong one, brother Mike!

Thank you!

Mark C Tubbs said...

Outuendo (as in "out in the open") is evidently the new Innuendo.

Ugh.

Joshua Bovis said...

You nailed it when you said:
Modesty is all but gone from the evangelical movement. Not only have today's evangelicals cast aside innocence as if it were something to be ashamed of; they are proud to have done so. They are keen to show a comfortable familiarity with the very things Scripture says it is shameful to speak of in public (Ephesians 5:12), and they would be embarrassed to be thought squeamish about such things.

Contextualisation is important, being culturally in touch is important, but I think holiness is more important. We are to be set apart for God's special use and not be like the world (which is what Ephesians 4:17 -5:20 is all about). Our ministries will not glorify God if our actions are subverting the very gospel that we seek to proclaim to unbelievers.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

I rejoice as I read comments like the ones of Mike and Joshua!

I thank the Lord for them!

Peace to you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Denise said...

We are becoming Corinth. This is the result of man-centered gospels and programs and philosophies (psychology namely).

This is exactly why I have no doubt that before God slugs America, He will judge the "churches", because what is done in HIS name is atrocious.

The sifting has begun...may those truly in Christ buck up, get bold, know Scripture, and let their light shine IN the "churches" (not just in the world) in these darkening days.

God could just as rightly say of the "Christians" today:

Rom 2:24 For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."

Jim W said...

Will S-Who says the "S-word" isn't very offensive? Just because "respectable" executives are using it doesn't make it OK. I hear plenty of "respectable" executives using the "f-word". Does that make that word inoffensive? I heard "son of a b****" last night on primetime television. Is that Ok now? It wasn't a slip, it was done several times-clearly and not bleeped or somehow toned down. Just because society and culture say it's alright doesn't make it so.

Will S said...

Jim, that is exactly my question. Obviously, the meaning of the word is not the problem (I think we all agree that "excrement" is ok while most here object that the "s-word" is not). There is something about the particular word itself that Church folk find offensive.

I think it has to do with societal acceptance. This is evidenced by the fact that historically some words go from being highly offensive to being generally acceptable (i.e. 'poopy' was not something parents would call their smelly 2-yr old in polite company 50 yrs ago) and my question is whether Paul's command is for us to attempt to maintain the standards (however outdated) or try to stay within modern day ever shifting standard.

If it is the later, the command to avoid vulgar language (in contrast to the rest of the sins in scripture that are eternal and constant) it really does matter if everyone is doing it. It does matter if respectable execs and elementary school teachers consider it foul. It HAS to. That is what makes "excrement" ok and s-word not ok (for Christians anyway).

My opinion is that it is NOT our role to slow the evolution of the American English language. I don't think we need to freak if someone uses the term 'golly' because my grandmother's sunday school teacher thought it was crass. Instead I think it is our job to stay within the parameters of socially acceptable language of the day.

My question is are we at a point in 2009 where some of the language of that is being attacked as crude isn't? At least in the contexts in which they are being used?

Sir Aaron said...

Didn't Frank just cover the qualities of an elder? Didn't he say that elders ought to epitomize the very best standards of Christianity (as outlined by Paul in Titus and Timothy)? Didn't Frank just tell us that we all ought to seek to exceed the criteria set before us as for selecting elders?

Therefore, can we even entertain the suggestion that is is acceptable to use course or lewd language just because society now has very little taboo against such language? Or should language be used by all Christians especially elders and Pastors that is more befitting of someone who is supposed to be above reproach?

Will S said...
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Sir Aaron said...

Will S: Is it that these executives don't find the words to be expletives or that they don't care?

Man of the West said...

...everything from "Christian" sex shops...

Hmmmm. My train of thought, upon reading that bit:

Hmmm. "Sex shops." What do they sell there? Probably sex toys.

Hmmmm. Exactly what questions can I clearly answer from Scripture about sex toys? Is there such a thing as a Christian sex toy? Would it be okay for Christians to use such things? Are there some places appropriate to buy them and some not? How much...um...frankness would giving a clear answer--any kind of answer--require?

Trying to figure that one out ought to keep me busy for a little while.

Phil Johnson said...

The s-word has been deemed offensive since 1066 or thereabouts. The fact that it's used more commonly today than 50 years ago doesn't signify that it's no longer considered offensive; it simply reflects an increased willingness on the part of certain segments of society (including the neo-evangelical segment) to use patently offensive language.

It's not just "church folk" who deem these terms offensive. Note that the article above is from the BBC, perhaps the most liberal of the major English-speaking entertainment networks.

Look: this isn't as complex as these postmodern relativistic arguments strive to make it sound. The application of simple Christian charity would answer most of the standard questions.

The same people who love to flout their parents' taboos are among the first to complain when someone violates the new canons of political correctness.

Go figure.

I still say Ephesians 5:4 is sufficiently clear, and it's significant that Paul himself sensed no need to make a list of taboo words for his readers. Every culture recognizes such taboos, and while the outer boundaries of appropriate/inappropriate might be a little fuzzy, reasonable minds easily grasp the big picture.

If someone wants to quibble about the propriety of the word "poopy," fine. Try to use it from my pulpit in a lighthearted or profane way and you won't get a second opportunity to speak to the flock who assemble here.

Will S said...

Aaron, my guess is a bit of both but perhaps more of the former. Most of these guys are not rebels.

candy said...

Will. Crude words are said so often these days that many people don't notice the offensiveness of them. I think it is interesting to watch historical movies where men use the "F" word throughout the movie, but that wasn't even a common word back in the real day.

I just read an article about George Washington. Whether or not it is a legend, I don't know. He was in a room full of men and one of the men looked around and then piped up that since there were no ladies present, he would tell a crude story. George Washington looked him in the eye and responded, "But there are gentlemen present."

It seems like no one even cares anymore about courtesy to others or what constitutes modest and intelligent boundaries in conversations and actions.

I blame some of it on the dumbing down effect, and parts of the Church just go with the flow. Pathetic.

Will S said...

Phil, the BBC link you provided actually does a nice job of showing how words have different levels of offensiveness given different audiences and throughout the ages.

With that being said, let me be clear that I am NOT saying that Paul's command should be ignored "because everything is relative". I generally agree that there are some pastors out there that are intentionally pushing the standards of society. That is exactly what I think Paul was commanding us not to do. When pastors do that they need to be called on it, I agree.

However we also need to be careful not to be MORE prudish than the culture because this is ridiculous and legalistic. Unfortunately, I think that legalism in the church is a common thing (much more common than the few crass pastors out there).

Will S said...

Candy, my point is that the fact that the word is crude is due to how acceptable it is. The word "intercourse" is an acceptable alternative to the f-word. If a day came (and I certainly don't think we are there right now) that the f-word was being used in medical text books to describe the act of intercourse then we would be silly to keep saying "just because everyone is doing it doesn't mean it is ok".

Blue Collar Todd said...

I wonder how much of this is related to the increased influence of Liberalism in the Church? You have pro-choice Christians, which is an oxymoron. You also have a huge Liberal movement claiming that one can be an unrepentant homosexual and a Christian, even that God ordained their homosexuality as a blessing.

I think troubled times are ahead for those who remain faithful to the Lord Jesus, because the rise of Liberalism in the Church will lead to the persecution of Christians.

Mike Riccardi said...

However we also need to be careful not to be MORE prudish than the culture because this is ridiculous and legalistic.

Maybe I don't understand this thought, but don't we want to see a distinguishable difference between the moral excellence of the world and the moral excellence of the Church? Could you flesh that out for me, Will?

Will S said...
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Will S said...

Mike, sure I will flesh it out... I made the case that Eph 5:4 must be a relative command. Unlike the ten commandments and other parts of the moral law, this code has to be linked and relative to what society as a whole holds as acceptable. For example, 'golly' was once frowned upon and considered a blasphemous and low term but is now considered to be something that only very innocent and old fashioned would use.

Given that language is relative, the command is tied to culture and I would argue that we should NOT strive to be of "higher moral excellence" then the culture on this particular command because to do so would be to create a standard of our own that goes beyond what Paul was talking about (legalism). Instead, I think Paul's point is that we should not be edgy with our humor (the edge being defined by culture).

Denise said...

I found this disturbing and contrary to Scripture:

Paul Tripp on the use of the "s" word:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUtPBCELCZc

Ironically, my mother-in-law who hates God, has a low tolerance for vulgar language and walked away from the room when some folks were watching GoodFellows b/c of the offensive language (I went with her).

1Ti 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Peace to you!

When you use the term "excrement" for "skubalon", you're already giving the almost indecent version of what that Greek word means in English.

If you would use a more decent translation, you would render it "filth".

Just as you have in English many options to explain the same idea of sexual relations, and yet some of them are indecent, in the same way there are many ways to render this Greek word into English.

Actually, the same thing or idea may have many synonyms in the same language, and the different synonyms are decent or indecent according to the roots in that language and according to its cultural significance within that language. This doesn't change in time.

Now, for the Greek word "skubalon": Of course, there was a synonym in Koine Greek that would mean what today "excrement" or a more indecent word means to an English speaking person. But Paul didn't choose that indecent synonym, and he chose to use the decent one in the Greek language. And if you look deeply into the Greek language, you will see that indeed this word "skubalon" was a decent way to express the idea of "excrement", just as "knew her" was the decent way by which the authors of the Bible expressed the sexual relations.

"Skubalon" in fact comes from 3 Greek roots: eis, kuon, and ballo.

Eis: to or into => the point reached.

Kuon: hound, dog.

Ballo: to throw or to lay.

Which makes the word "skubalon" mean "what is thrown to a dog". You see that it doesn't really mean that exact word "excrement", but a refuse (ordure) that can be thrown to a dog. This reminds us of what Jesus said to the Canaanite woman:

"And He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."" (Matthew 15:26)

In this verse, "throw" is the Greek "balein". It's the same verb that is found in the word "skubalon". And a hound (kuon)is not a bad dog...

So in the final account, we see that this word "skubalon" was a decent way to express the idea of filth or refuse that cannot be used by humans and so is thrown to dogs.

As I told you: It's very essential to have a decent heart in order to understand these things. Facts do not change in time, but you can use different synonyms to mean the same thing, either in a decent way or in an indecent way.

In the matter of modesty and sexual purity, we should really meditate on the meanings of virginity and marriage. This generation has lost the respect for these truths. We should understand that immodesty does not begin when you pass to the act, but it comes from the heart, as our Lord said.

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

one busy mom said...

Oh my!

It's times like this that:

1. I'm even more grateful for the pastor I have....that he would never profane God by crude, or sexually explicit talk from the pulpit or anywhere else!

2. I'm left in mouth gaping shock that anyone who believes they have enough knowledge to preach the Word of God, has enough foolishness to speak that way.....uh....isn't the "fear" of God the beginning of wisdom???

The Bible is pretty clear about sex: Great in marriage, required in marriage, wrong outside of marriage. Period. Seems simple,and straight forward enough...maybe not popular - but clear.

Common Sense should also dictate sex in marriage is private. We're not to cause our brothers to stumble and such explicit talk is likely to do just that.

But, sadly, this kind of nonsense isn't really all that surprising. When preaching simply tries to appeal to emotions (as opposed to actually preaching the Word of God), sooner or later those emotions will be harder to arouse. So to get a reaction the temptation would be to appeal more and more to the baser instincts....hence...this kind of stuff. Just glad I haven't run into it myself.

Sir Aaron said...

Denise:

Before I watch the link you provide, let me be sure what you are saying. You found Paul Tripp's video and statements to be disturbing and contrary to Scripture?

And does anybody else find that a certain poster has an unhealthy obsession with virginity?

Sir Aaron said...

one busy mom:

I was conversing with Frank about an interesting experiental point. As a parent I am keenly aware of what is foul language and what is not. I'm also very sensitive to my own language and everyone else's around my daughter. I've often wondered if the majority of people who don't object to the use of some of these words are not parents.

Of course, Scripture is our guide not my experience, but I have found it an interesting hypothesis nonetheless.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

"And does anybody else find that a certain poster has an unhealthy obsession with virginity?"

:) I liked this.

...

Obsession in misunderstanding the mind of the biblical authors when they use a word like "skubala" is not bad for some people...

Do you know why there are four Gospel accounts and 5 Books of the Law? And in many cases, the same things are repeated...

Let this generation wake up. I am not ashamed of talking about the blessed covenant of marriage and about purity, even though many cannot (will not...) understand...

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

CR said...

Denise: Paul Tripp on the use of the "s" word:snip snip

Hmmm....that is real surprising coming from Tripp. Whatever concern that Tripp had about hearing certain words and "missing the beauty" or "higher calling of the passage" (I read his intro of the video), at a minimum, it means let no unwholesome words come out of our mouth. It appears that he violated the letter of that command by using that language with his children and using it on the interview. That's too bad.

CR said...

Also, if one wants to demonstrate that we should not violate the spirit of the law (which Tripp attempted to do), you don't do that by violating the letter of the law.

This should also be true of pastors and the rest of us who want to convey some real shocking things of the Bible. There are some shocking things in there, but you don't need to demonstrate it in an unwholesome way, otherwise the Bible contradicts by demanding we convey what is shocking in an unwholesome way while at the same time the Bible says let no unwholesome words come out of our mouths.

Chris said...

Will:

It seems from your comments that you care much more about being viewed as "legalistic" or "prudish" in the eyes of men than you care about honoring God and esteeming or pursuing holiness. This is only compounded by the fact that you are using the word legalism inaccurately in your comments, as legalism/legalist pertains directly to the false belief that salvation is somehow connected with works and law-keeping. So, if honoring God and caring much more about HIS approval than winning the approval of men is deemed legalistic by your criterion, then I humbly suggest you should examine what a legalist really is instead of using the word, like so many postmodernists like to do in their relativistic wordplay, as a smokescreen for man-pleasing and compromise.

Chris said...
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Chris said...

Will:

Let me clarify that I'm not calling you a postmodernist per-se, but rather I'm saying the activity of giving a word, such as legalism, far more flexibility or inclusiveness than can accurately be ascribed is a product of the postmodernism of our age. It is also a characteristic of PM to quickly stress the need for understanding the "relative" nature of terms and/or caution against being too absolutist. Do you see how such thinking is not only incompatible with Christianity, but is in direct opposition to the gospel?

Rick Frueh said...

Any discussion of sex from the pulpit that would inlcude specific positions, enhancement "toys", challenges to increased frequency, and most every other particulars is both carnal, culturally tethered, and most importatntly extra-Biblical.

All questionable language is in the same category.

I will openly admit that when a farmer feeds pigs the slop they love it will draw many more pigs.

stratagem said...

I'd like to weigh in on the s-word comment.

I find the word offensive, and it doesn't get any less offensive just because those whom I work with use it at length.

In fact, the purpose of the word is to create a negative, offensive picture in the hearers' minds. That's why they say "s---", not "stone" or "board" or some other inanimate object's name.

Rick Frueh said...

stratagem - I agree. I guess the Scripture "avoid the appearance of evil" actually means "attempt to find any linguistic technicality that allows you to use phrases that will be an example to our children of relevant godliness".

ljchan said...

I agree, Strategem. But, actually, I thought you ended all the debate with your definitive insight of the flooded lawn. Indeed, it's a little known fact that it originates from the days of Atlantis, and is currently enjoying a revival of usage in the Maldives.

JackW said...

Maybe “The End of Evangelical Innocence” began when “disciples” stopped learning and decided they were teachers? How ironic.

Will S said...

Chris, ok maybe you don't like the term legalism. Let me clarify what I mean and you can use whatever term you like.

What would you call it when we make the word of God more strict than it is? If Paul's command was to 'stay well with the limits of societal speech' and we twist that to mean 'be language defenders and keep societal speech from evolving' I think it could be argued that is what we are doing.

Jonathan Hunt said...

Phil, a present for you:

http://tinyurl.com/mhmnzs

Chris said...

society "evolving??"

I correct my last comment: I now believe you are most certainly a postmodernist, as such ideology has polluted your theology.

olan strickland said...

Will S: If Paul's command was to 'stay well with the limits of societal speech'

Paul's command was to stay well with the limits of saintly speech. The immediate context of the passage will allow no other interpretation without violating its context. Also Ephesians is a book dealing with Ecclesiology as its overall context and therefore any other interpretation will also violate the books overall context.

Staying true to how a Christian should speak gives no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God (see 1 Corinthians 10:31-32) and is in no way holding back the "evolving" (rather devolving) societal speech.

Phil Johnson said...

Will S:

Have a listen to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EFXP04ke2o

Then if you want to come back and post these hackneyed arguments, we'll talk.

If you seriously think the s-word has reached the point of being edifying and utterly non-offensive, I can't imagine what segment of our culture's underbelly you currently inhabit, but you ought to take note of what any large business that deals with a lot of customers (Wal-Mart, McDonald's, etc) deems appropriate and inappropriate language for customer-relations. Better yet, try your assertions out at your local McDonald's and see if they would even give you a job flipping burgers.

Then report back.

Jonathan Hunt:

Thanks.

Disciple: "Can you please explain?"

No need. The rules are clear. Pay special attention to rules 2, 4, and 6.

Frankly, I have no idea where you're trying to steer the discussion here, our earlier question, ("Am I not free to ask the questions that I see helpful to teach people the biblical truth?") has me concerned. This is a place for you to comment on the above post, not an opportunity for you to steer the topic into some other realm so that you can "teach" a novel notion of priestly celibacy or whatever it is you seem to be aiming at.

I don't want to know what you're aiming at, either. I'd be happy if you'd simply make an effort to stay on topic, and don't feel like you need to take the teacher's role in your debut performance here.

Red and Black Redneck said...

To add a little fuel to the fire:

Could the word "p***" be used properly from the pulpit if the context required it? How about in a church that used the King James version in its weekly reading of the scripture and had came to the passages in Samuel, Kings or Isaiah? Or simply those passages were being taught?

Red and Black Redneck said...

And what I mean by "context" is that the teaching or example required the discussion of a man urinating, not the more common current slang use of being mad (american) or drunk (english).

Also, I did not see in the BBC article where "s***" had been considered profane since 1066. Rather, according to John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins, the noun form of the word was not first recorded until the 16th century.

It seems to me that the biblical principle is not to focus on the words so much (because they do go in and out of fashion and in and out of states of profaneness) but rather, to not discuss things that need not be discussed such as sexual acts. Enjoy it within the bounds of marriage. Don't outside of the bounds of marriage. What else needs to be said? If a congregant has a specific problem or question, that can be taken care of within the bounds of pastoral counseling.

I cannot conceive (no pun intended) of a time when "s***" or any variant thereof would need to be discussed from the pulpit. How is a discussion on feces edifying?

Phil Johnson said...

Red and Blue Redneck:

1066 was the Norman conquest of England. After that, certain Saxon terms (many of which have come down to us as 4-letter words) came to be considered crude and socially unacceptable.

For an enlightening discussion of why some words are deemed profane while exact synonyms are OK, see The Mother Tongues, by Bill Bryson.

There's no need to have a debate about whether it's reasonable for the s-word to be considered unwholesome while the word "dung" may be said right out loud in polite company. The fact is that every culture has taboo words. "Cusswords" existed in the Greek-speaking world of the 1st century. The apostle Paul cited no principle of "contextualization" requiring Christians to use those words in order to communicate better with society's dregs. Nor is there any scriptural mandate for us to flout our culture's taboos on the grounds that they don't make rational sense.

Instead, Scripture simply tells us not to use such words. This was never considered a complex issue until the past 20 years or so. Anyone care to speculate why?

Phil Johnson said...

That's The Mother Tongue. Singular. Sorry for the typo.

one busy mom said...

Sir Aaron:

" I've often wondered if the majority of people who don't object to the use of some of these words are not parents."

Interesting idea...having young children does make you keenly aware of the influences arround them.

On the other hand..


In our culture the young (20 somethings) find the crude language fashionably edgy, the rest still want to pretend they're 20-somethings until they're the age that they can't remember what they were saying in the first place!

But....popular doesn't make something right. Yes, languages evolve....but honestly - I don't think those who use foul language are really so oblivious to the nature of their words! (Now, I know some folks have just acquired the bad habit of using foul language....but they aren't usually the ones argueing that it's not foul.)

Once a word becomes "acceptable" it's no longer "edgy" and loses its appeal. When's the last time you heard an actor shout "golly" or "darn" in an action movie? and as a kid I got my mouth washed out with soap for saying the 2nd one!!

Chris said...

Phil:

If only the Cubs were hitting em' outta-the-park like the home-run you just sent to Will, they'd be having a winning season!

;o)

Phil Johnson said...

Red and Black Redneck:

I looked it up. Variations of the s-word in noun form have been around since the 1300s. The simplified 4-letter spelling is what didn't come into use until the 16th century, but the same word with an "e" on the end was in use and considered seriously profane long before that.

Geoffrey Chaucer used an adjectival form of the same term to highlight the irony of corrupt priests whose sheep are cleaner than they are. See "The Parson's Prologue," stanza 505, line 2.

Also, here's an excerpt from Bill Bryson's book (cited above), which shows the size of the problem Paul was dealing with in the Roman world. This is from page 214 of The Mother Tongue:

"Most cultures swear and have been doing so for a very long time. Dr. J. N. Adams of Manchester University in England studied swearing by Romans and found that they had 800 "dirty" words (for want of a better expression). We, by contrast, have only about twenty or so, depending on how you define the term. The Rating Code Office of Hollywood has a list of seventeen seriously objectionable words that will earn a motion picture a mandatory R rating."

Sir Aaron said...

800 swear words? Wow. Most people I know who swear perpetually only know about 4.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

CR: “Also, if one wants to demonstrate that we should not violate the spirit of the law (which Tripp attempted to do), you don't do that by violating the letter of the law.

This should also be true of pastors and the rest of us who want to convey some real shocking things of the Bible. There are some shocking things in there, but you don't need to demonstrate it in an unwholesome way, otherwise the Bible contradicts by demanding we convey what is shocking in an unwholesome way while at the same time the Bible says let no unwholesome words come out of our mouths.”

Well, the main problem is that many Christians are still under the Law. A man cannot fulfill the Law by the flesh, as the flesh cannot please God. The only way to fulfill the Law is by the Spirit:

“so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)

”For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:2)

Therefore, you will see practically in the life of those who are still under the Law how it is impossible to keep the Law by the flesh and thus to please God. They will always contradict the Word of God, and worse: they will defend their contradiction with passages from the Bible! Why? Because they don’t really understand the Word of God, as the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 2:14).

We are released from the Law! This should be experienced in a real way in the life of any believer, or else he’s still under the Law:

“But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:6)

__________

JackW: “Maybe “The End of Evangelical Innocence” began when “disciples” stopped learning and decided they were teachers? How ironic.”

The more ironic thing is that many think they know who a disciple of Christ is, and yet they say wrong things about him…

All Christians are disciples of Christ. There are no teachers in the Church, for our Teacher is one, and He is Christ. The love duty of any real disciple of Christ is to give the teaching of the Bible to everyone. To do that, he should take all the loving ways, instead of sarcasm and pride. Indeed, “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” (1 Corinthians 8:1)

We should edify with love, and yet not us, but the Lord who works through us, His disciples. He told His disciples:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
(Matthew 28:19-20)

Here, “teaching them” does NOT mean that the Apostles will be the teachers, but that the Lord will teach people through them by His Word. And we should learn how to use all useful (kind) ways that help to teach people the truth of God’s Word. It is the truth that teaches them, not us.

We’re in a time when we need to explain these things to Christians…

Dear Jack, I would wish if you could directly tell things to the concerned person, instead of using sarcasm. Let us not be arrogant, but let us edify with love.

“If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2)

You may think you know… But you should know as you ought to know.

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

olan strickland said...

Phil: Instead, Scripture simply tells us not to use such words. This was never considered a complex issue until the past 20 years or so. Anyone care to speculate why?

Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Seeker-Sensitive, Emergent - just to name a few!

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Will: “What would you call it when we make the word of God more strict than it is? If Paul's command was to 'stay well with the limits of societal speech' and we twist that to mean 'be language defenders and keep societal speech from evolving' I think it could be argued that is what we are doing.”

The main problem is that when a people begins to use indecent synonyms of the same word, the language is not evolving, but the people is going more and more into lawlessness!!

The standard of God does not change with time and with place or culture. If something is indecent, even if a culture decides it is not, it will remain indecent. And it is the work of Christians to be the salt of this earth (see Matthew 5:13). Let us be careful not to be tasteless, thus proving that we are not salt at all. It is the Christians who will teach the world which synonyms to use! They are immodest, while we have the Spirit of God.

Peace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Phil: “Disciple: "Can you please explain?"

No need. The rules are clear. Pay special attention to rules 2, 4, and 6.

Frankly, I have no idea where you're trying to steer the discussion here, our earlier question, ("Am I not free to ask the questions that I see helpful to teach people the biblical truth?") has me concerned. This is a place for you to comment on the above post, not an opportunity for you to steer the topic into some other realm so that you can "teach" a novel notion of priestly celibacy or whatever it is you seem to be aiming at.

I don't want to know what you're aiming at, either. I'd be happy if you'd simply make an effort to stay on topic, and don't feel like you need to take the teacher's role in your debut performance here.”

Don’t you think that you judged me when you considered that I am doing all this? Did not the Lord teach us not to judge?

If you think there is no need to explain the rules, then why should I need to explain to you what I am doing here? And yet, I will do, as I don’t have a hidden agenda.

When I asked if I am not free to ask the questions that are helpful to teach people the biblical truth, why did you assume that the specific biblical truth that I am trying to communicate to people in this topic has nothing to do with the topic? Why did you assume that I am changing the topic? Is it because you didn’t see the relation between modesty and the need to know the meaning of virginity and of the purity of marriage? Indeed, your comment makes it clear that you didn’t get the idea! First, I never said that it is I who will teach. I would expect such an error in understanding what I said from the world, but not from the Church! I clearly said that those questions are helpful in teaching, and I didn’t say that I will teach. Those questions are helpful in our work of letting the Bible teach people the truth. We ask questions that will lead people to think, and then by the Grace of God we will give the biblical answers to those questions.

Again, you assumed that I teach priestly celibacy!! Strange! Is it the fact that I have put in my profile a picture representing the Good Shepherd that has made you think this?? Where did I say anything about priestly celibacy? I even made it more than clear that the meaning of virginity is NOT to be opposed to the purity of marriage, but on the contrary it is impossible to really understand the purity of marriage without understanding the true meaning of virginity as revealed in the Bible. I don’t see what this has to do with priestly celibacy!! I am even surprised when you say this, as what I am saying is the exact opposite of priestly celibacy!! If priests should not marry, then all Christians should not marry, as all Christians are priests!! This is a false Roman Catholic teaching that has nothing to do with the biblical truth that I am trying to communicate to people. Only when you know the real meaning of virginity you can avoid the false teaching of the heresies about virginity and marriage and about sexual modesty as a whole.

Let us be humble, dear Phil. I respect very much your effort to reach the world with the truth of the Gospel, and I thank the Lord for such weblogs and websites as this. But let us make sure not to let knowledge make us so arrogant as to lead us to misunderstand the brethren. We all are eager to reach the world with the truth of the Gospel of Salvation, and not to show how much we know.

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Chris said...

"Disciple"... you wrote:

"There are no teachers in the Church, for our Teacher is one, and He is Christ."

Please explain to me then why you have overtaken the comments section on this post, even to the point of overriding the moderator with derailing detours, in your self-declared role as the "enlightened" teacher of everyone here--people whom you apparantly believe are in the dark and in need of your "special" instruction. Sounds rather gnostic to me.

Chris said...

BTW: some of the most arrogant, hostile, and non-humble people I've ever known are the quietest people, or people with so much "loving" rhetoric about tolerance and getting along. I work in academia, where people of this type abound.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Chris: “"Disciple"... you wrote:

"There are no teachers in the Church, for our Teacher is one, and He is Christ."

Please explain to me then why you have overtaken the comments section on this post, even to the point of overriding the moderator with derailing detours, in your self-declared role as the "enlightened" teacher of everyone here--people whom you apparantly believe are in the dark and in need of your "special" instruction. Sounds rather gnostic to me.”

Dear Chris, I am sorry if my many replies made you think this, but that is the result of eagerness to share the biblical truth. Please note that the biblical truth is not only for those who are in darkness, but also for the Church. The believers need the Gospel, too…

For the rest, I don’t see why you keep judging me. I never tried to overtake the comments section or to override anyone, and I am not here to show that I am enlightened.

Please, let us continue to discuss the topic, and let us not pass to personal attacks.

The Lord is Good!

Grace to you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

An interesting question: if blogger offers you an indecent word of verification when you want to post your comment, will you add it? Or you will prefer to refresh and to send your comment again?

Disciple of Jesus Christ

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

“BTW: some of the most arrogant, hostile, and non-humble people I've ever known are the quietest people, or people with so much "loving" rhetoric about tolerance and getting along. I work in academia, where people of this type abound.”

Oh oh!! You have fallen in the temptation of judging me…

The Lord bless you! I pray for you.

Chris said...

I sense a subjective use of the article "the" in your last comment (just before "biblical Truth")? Hmmm. Odd. Such a use of the article may not have raised an eyebrow in someone else's comments, but in light of all you've written thus far, I'm scratching my head.

Douglas Kofi Adu-Boahen said...

Disciple said:

"There are no teachers in the Church"

Paul would disagree with you on that (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

“I sense a subjective use of the article "the" in your last comment (just before "biblical Truth")? Hmmm. Odd. Such a use of the article may not have raised an eyebrow in someone else's comments, but in light of all you've written thus far, I'm scratching my head.”

No, dear Chris, don’t worry. There is nothing subjective in this. No one posts a comment if he thinks that what he says is not the truth. I am simply saying that only the Word of God is the truth.

Disciple of Jesus Christ

Chris said...

Where did I say I was referring to you in my description of the quiet, arrogant, and pseudo-tolerant folks who like to use "loving" rhetoric of unification so often? I made it clear that many of this ilk to whom I was referring are academic elitist types within my field--people I know. Does the shoe fit?

Chris said...

...combined, of course, with your exposition of it.

e.g. "How will they hear without a teacher?"

The real question is simply whether a teacher is true or false.

Daryl said...

Let the trolls troll the trolls, only come, comment on the post.

Chris said...

Thanks Daryl....I needed that! I was thinking the same thing.

Red and Black Redneck said...

Phil:

I am not meaning to be difficult, but what is the source that says first, s***(e) was used in noun form prior to the 16th C. and second, that was considered profane? I am simply curious. If someone has access to the Oxford English Dictionary, I think those questions, certainly the one about origin, would be answered.

If I recall my quarter of Chaucer, my quarter of Shakespeare and my quarter of Medieaval Poetry correctly, Chaucer's use of it in adjective form would not have been considered profane.

That does not mean that it ought to be used from the pulpit (or within polite speech either). My argument is that is it because the subject of scatological matters is unedifying unless one has a medical condition and is discussing it with one's physician.

I think that Rushdoony makes a similar point in the Institutes of Biblical Law, i.e. scatological matters are unholy and therefore ought not be discussed.

Bryson's book is excellent as are several of his others. It has been a long time since I have read them.

A related, and as yet untouched issue, of arguably more importance, is the failure to discuss DEATH in a matter-of-fact manner. While we have de-euphemized (to coin a word) sexual matters, we have euphemized death so that we don't face its horrible nature (i.e. "passed away" - Christian Science, funeral homes instead of the corpse laying on your dining room table.)

Phil et al. please don't think that I believe vulgarity ought to be used in the pulpit. And probably ought to err on the side or a Victorian sensibility if we think that a hearer may be offended by our speech.

As to why it is an issue: My opinion is that the use of language (the specific words used - not just the idea conveyed), just as the use of manners (or lack thereof) or dress, is used as a container of information as much as the message conveyed. In other words, as Neil Postman has eloquently argued, the medium is as much the message as the message itself. (I know Postman was building upon someone else with this - I just cannot remember who it was).

Therefore, the downturn in language standards is a reflection of the anti-authoritarian nature of modern Western society and the inherent relativism that is contained therein.

You folks on the west-Coast are likely confronted with that more openly than we'uns in the south are.

By the way, if I could have found a way to make a living reciting the Canterbury Tales in middle-English, I might not have gone to law school.

"Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote . . ."

Will S said...

Phil, I think we agree with your last statement: "Instead, Scripture simply tells us not to use such words. This was never considered a complex issue until the past 20 years or so. Anyone care to speculate why?"

Here is why I think I think the issue has become more complex of late. I think that 40 years ago the US went through a huge cultural shift. Cultural shifts (whether for the better or worse) change what is acceptable in language. As you noted, the reason acceptable language changed in 1066 is because the ruling class changed and the new rulers from the north of France didn't particularly like the language of their Saxon subjects. The s-word may have been acceptable in Saxon England for 300 years prior to 1066 but since then it has been considered low and crass.

And so in 1960 there was a confluence of changes to our culture that have changed many aspects of our culture. The cause of the change was mostly due to ungodly factors (sexual revolution, darwinian understandings becoming mainstream, marxist influence etc) but we have to remember that William the Conquerer and the cultural change he brought through violent overthrow was not all well and good either. It may have been that the church in 1067 were lamenting the fact that everyone was using the e-word (excrement).

The role of the church in all this is not to attempt to stem the tide of changing language. Our role (in fulfilling Eph 5:4) is to stay within the boundaries of societal acceptance of the day. The s-word may still be taboo in some crowds but it is certainly not not considered taboo other crowds.

I do not think it is the church's role to be persnickety on language. I think it is our role to be non-offensive on language. If the culture as a whole talks one way all the time but when they are around Christians they have to 'watch their tongues' I think we are missing the point of what Paul is saying. This is creating a rule that scripture does not mandate.

Chris said...

Red and Black:

You Wrote:
"Therefore, the downturn in language standards is a reflection of the anti-authoritarian nature of modern Western society and the inherent relativism that is contained therein."

Well said! So true indeed! Yes, as a West-Coaster (somewhere between San Diego and Seattle) who teaches college students in both secular academia and at an increasingly more liberal "Christian" institution, the downgrade in language and anti-authoritarian sentiment becomes more and more obvious every semester.

CR said...

"Disciple of Jesus Christ",

I wasn't talking about the law of Moses. What I was saying was that the command in Ephesians 4:29 is at a minimum saying no unwholesome words should come out of our mouths. Whatever point Tripp was trying to make about "missing the beauty" or "higher calling of the passage" and not violating the spirit of the law, he violated the letter of the law (again, I don't mean Moses, substitute with command or Eph 4:29 if you'd like) by cussing.

Mike Riccardi said...

Disciple: Well, the main problem is that many Christians are still under the Law.

This is impossible. See the following.

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. - Rom 6:14

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ. - Rom 7:4

But now we have been released from the Law. - Rom 7:6

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. - Gal 3:24-25

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. - Gal 5:18 (cf. Rom 8:14 - For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.)

Disciple: The only way to fulfill the Law is by the Spirit.

We can't fulfill the Law. Christ fulfills the Law in us. Even the verse you quoted, Rom 8:2, says the requirement will be fulfilled in us, not by.

Disciple: There are no teachers in the Church, for our Teacher is one, and He is Christ.

This thought is based on a great misunderstanding of Matthew 23. Scripture is clear that teachers not only exist, but are God-given gifts to the church.

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. - James 3:1. Doesn't that presuppose that some will become teachers?

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers... - Eph 4:11

Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers. - Acts 13:1.

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers... - 1Cor 12:28

Disciple: [In the Great Commission], “teaching them” does NOT mean that the Apostles will be the teachers,

That's merely an assertion, not an argument.

...but that the Lord will teach people through them by His Word. ... It is the truth that teaches them, not us.

That's very pious-sounding of you, but, as demonstrated above, goes against the language of the Bible. The Bible doesn't certify that we teach anything but the Word of God, but it still calls those to whom God has given the gift of teaching teachers.

Disciple: We’re in a time when we need to explain these things to Christians...

We’re in a time when we need to explain these things to Christians...

Disciple: Did not the Lord teach us not to judge?

Paul says: For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? - 1Cor 5:12. Apparently we're to judge those inside the visible, professing Church.

I humbly submit, dear Disciple, that you consider how James' admonition in 3:1 and then his warnings about the tongue apply to you and your comments on this blog.

Sir Aaron said...

Ok, I saw the video. I thought his message was ok, but didn't understand why he needed to actually say the word. He could have spelled it out or done a couple other things to let us know what he was talking about. I also don't get how you make a point about bad words then let your kids use it flippantly.

Chris said...

I'm not buyin it Will....but a good sell though, I must say, by painting that detailed historical context.

How about looking at the larger postmodern downgrade which surrounds the downgrade in language, as Red & Black mentioned? It should make it so obvious that true lovers of Christ (not legalists) would never want to see a larger movement of opposition to God given credence by adopting its rhetoric.

The postmodern downgrade, which began in the sixties, is highly distinct, and uniquely devastating to witness in this, the 21st century. The language of the larger downgrade is, admittedly, subject to societal degrees of acceptance or rejection; it is a reflection of a society that is increasingly more hateful of truth and absolutes. However, this obvious reality concerning the entrance of new base words into the rhetorical marketplace should have no impact upon discerning Christians who are called OUT of the world and its ways. I have trouble even trying to conceive of how you regard the intentional rejection of this new vocabulary among believers as being nit-pickey. It is even more astonishing to think professing Christians use such language in their churches...more astonishing (and damnable) still is the defilement of God's Word by using the crass rhetoric of postmodern society in a pulpit!

Sir Aaron said...

Daryl and Chris:

How come you didn't get it when I mentioned something along the same lines about 100 posts ago?

mike said...

as Neil Postman has eloquently argued, the medium is as much the message as the message itself.

herein, as they say, lies the rub.

in the current environment, the messanger may actually be more imortant than the message, for an example see our past election.
yes, absolutely, that is true, for the world.
a serious casualty of the Phinney and on movement from soveriegnty of God/ election, is that since the "church" believes that the lost can decide, and that since the messanger makes or breaks closing the deal, and the next thing you know, you are playing AC DC songs on Easter Sunday and asking people to "meet Jesus", while talking all the while about releaving ones self in the mall. and what do you know? 300 people loved that message and messanger enough to be claimed on the interweb.
BUT, if the Bible is true, and it is, and salvation is of God, and it is, then what John the Baptist said "I must decrease so that HE might increase" actually becomes a good idea.
we do not need to lay in the mud to bring the gospel to someone laying with pigs, we proclaim it and let God reach those that e would.
no clever sales pitch, no 30 day trials, no tailgate baptisms dressed in hawaiian shirts, just the gospel. He is God, HIS rules, His way for His glory. why do we fight this so hard?

Sir Aaron said...

Will S:

I get your point. Language changes. What once was considered foul language can become nothing more than a clinical description. But I think we could agree that the use of the S word and other words may not be exactly taboo, but most people understand that such language would not be acceptable at most of society's formal affairs. So as Christians it behooves us to exemplify the very best behavior. Instead you have Pastors that actually brag and relish the opportunity to use such words in public as if it were a badge of honor. If it were the case that such words were no longer "foul" then using such language wouldn't deserve such special attention.

Daryl said...

Sir Aaron,

Call it being to eager to argue, or just plan slow...sad thing is, I tried it off line too...same results.

You know how it goes, I'll just make one more comment and then let it go.

If only I would.

Will S said...

Sir Aaron, I think we are on the same page. I think it is a shame that some pastors (not very many but a visible few) seem to relish in pushing the boundaries of acceptable language. This is clearly not good and they should be called on the floor for it.

Let's just make sure we as a church don't go the other way and become protectors of American English circa 1950. Doing so is not biblically mandated and will rightfully make us look silly.

Gary said...

To those that are proponents of using swear words,what do you get from using those words? What does that bring to your sermon/lesson that you cannot get with another word?

Are you trying to awaken your audience? Shock them? Why can you not use more vivid non-vulgar language? Have you read Edwards or Spurgeon lately? Were they not vivid? Were they not "edgy" enough? The truth in eloquent and vivid terms is far more shocking and awakening than a swear word thrown in for effect.

Red and Black Redneck said...

Two more observations and then I need to get some work accomplished:

First, Will S, it seems to me that you are missing the key issue here: Of primary importance is the topic being discussed. Of secondary importance is the vocabulary used to discuss that topic. In other words, if what one is talking about is non-edifying, then it ought not be discussed no matter how flowery the language used nor how vulgar the language used. As I mentioned earlier, I cannot think of a subject that is scatological in nature where a pastor would be in the position of having to decide whether to use the term "feces" or be hip and say "s***."

Look at it this way: Gossip is non-edifying whether one employs vulgar language or uses non-vulgar language. As Christians, we ought not gossip.

Second, the postmodern downgrade began with the fall. We have been anti-authoritarian ever since. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that our post-modern problems began with the Enlightenment. Diana West, in The Death of The Grownup, argues they began in the 1920s. That's a good read, by they way. She correctly diagnoses western societies perpetual immaturity.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

“Disciple said:

"There are no teachers in the Church"
Paul would disagree with you on that (Ephesians 4:11-12)”

1. Dear Douglas, this makes you wonder why they were offended when I said that I am using questions that are helpful to teach people.

2. Paul is not contradicting Jesus who said that we have only one Teacher, Jesus Christ. Paul is explaining the gift of teachers through whom CHRIST teaches. Those teachers will be false teachers if they teach from their own. This kind of false teachers do not have the mind of Christ and of the Spirit. All along His earthly ministry, our Lord never said that He teaches from His own (as a human) but He said that He teaches whatever He hears from His Father. And He also told us that the Spirit of truth will do this: He will take from Him (from Christ) and will reveal it to us. Those who consider they are teachers in themselves and not disciples, do a big error, as not even the Lord of Glory did that when He was on earth.

Be blessed!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

“Where did I say I was referring to you in my description of the quiet, arrogant, and pseudo-tolerant folks who like to use "loving" rhetoric of unification so often? I made it clear that many of this ilk to whom I was referring are academic elitist types within my field--people I know. Does the shoe fit?”

As you were replying to my comments, so it is natural to assume that you were addressing me.

Well, thank you for the clarification. So you didn’t mean I am doing that with my biblical clarifications above.

Grace to you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Mike Riccardi said...

Disciple,

You're ripping that verse from its context to say something absolutely silly.

So Jesus says there are no teachers, but then Paul says Jesus gives teachers as gifts to the Church? No sale, friend.

So then, with no way to deny it because we see the office all throughout the New Testament, we can admit, there are teachers. But now you want to say that the very thing that marks them as teachers is that they don't teach.

This overly-pious pontificating you're doing is leading you into the absurd and contradictory. Whose benefit are you seeking in your comments, dude? Seriously. You need to consider that.

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Chris: “...combined, of course, with your exposition of it.

e.g. "How will they hear without a teacher?"

The real question is simply whether a teacher is true or false.”

Well, not teacher, but preacher: “And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

Anyways… Let’s see how you judge whether a teacher is true or false.

Grace to you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Will S said...

Red and Black,

One scatalogical reference might be Luther's snow covered dung. If I were preaching I would say 'dung' but the in the context of preaching the forensic nature of justification to a biker gang I could see it being appropriate to say the s-word.

With that being said, I generally agree that subject matter can be obscene without using one of the words. I have heard many a joke in my secular office that I have been offended by that did not actually include a cuss word. I would agree pastors should not do this either.

But in this area we need to be careful too because it is possible (and indeed necessary) to talk about some things that may not be suitable for the little kiddos. Who would want to preach through Lev 18 to a group of 6 yr old boys? But the chapter is in scripture for a reason and it needs to be preached (even if it is to a men's only group or some other context without kiddos).

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

CR: “"Disciple of Jesus Christ",

I wasn't talking about the law of Moses. What I was saying was that the command in Ephesians 4:29 is at a minimum saying no unwholesome words should come out of our mouths. Whatever point Tripp was trying to make about "missing the beauty" or "higher calling of the passage" and not violating the spirit of the law, he violated the letter of the law (again, I don't mean Moses, substitute with command or Eph 4:29 if you'd like) by cussing.”

OK. But in the Bible the letter of the Law means the legalistic understanding and application of the Law, so I thought you were using the biblical expression.

Thank you for the clarification.

Disciple of Jesus Christ

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Mike Riccardi:

You said: “Disciple: Well, the main problem is that many Christians are still under the Law.

This is impossible. See the following.

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. - Rom 6:14

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ. - Rom 7:4

But now we have been released from the Law. - Rom 7:6

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. - Gal 3:24-25

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. - Gal 5:18 (cf. Rom 8:14 - For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.)”

Exactly! So those Christians who are still under the Law are not true Christians, because, just as you said, that is impossible.

You said: “Disciple: The only way to fulfill the Law is by the Spirit.

We can't fulfill the Law. Christ fulfills the Law in us. Even the verse you quoted, Rom 8:2, says the requirement will be fulfilled in us, not by.”

Exactly! I didn’t say that the Law will be fulfilled BY us, but I said that the Law will be fulfilled by the Spirit. Please, explain how you distinguish between the work of the Spirit in us and the work of Christ in us.

You said: “Disciple: There are no teachers in the Church, for our Teacher is one, and He is Christ.

This thought is based on a great misunderstanding of Matthew 23. Scripture is clear that teachers not only exist, but are God-given gifts to the church.

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. - James 3:1. Doesn't that presuppose that some will become teachers?

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers... - Eph 4:11

Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers. - Acts 13:1.

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers... - 1Cor 12:28”

I have explained this in my reply to Douglas. Please, read it above.

You said: “Disciple: [In the Great Commission], “teaching them” does NOT mean that the Apostles will be the teachers,

That's merely an assertion, not an argument.”

An assertion based on what the Bible teaches.

You said: “...but that the Lord will teach people through them by His Word. ... It is the truth that teaches them, not us.

That's very pious-sounding of you, but, as demonstrated above, goes against the language of the Bible. The Bible doesn't certify that we teach anything but the Word of God, but it still calls those to whom God has given the gift of teaching teachers.”

And yet the Bible talks also about false teachers.

You said: “Disciple: We’re in a time when we need to explain these things to Christians...

We’re in a time when we need to explain these things to Christians...”

That’s right.

You said: “Disciple: Did not the Lord teach us not to judge?

Paul says: For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? - 1Cor 5:12. Apparently we're to judge those inside the visible, professing Church.”

That’s a wholly different subject. You quoted a passage about discernment, while I was talking about judging each other. You annulled the commandment of Jesus regarding judgmental spirit with another commandment that is related to another topic.

You said: “I humbly submit, dear Disciple, that you consider how James' admonition in 3:1 and then his warnings about the tongue apply to you and your comments on this blog.”

Let each of us examine himself. And thank you for your humble advice.

Grace to you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

Mike Riccardi: “Disciple,

You're ripping that verse from its context to say something absolutely silly.”

Is it silly that the only Teacher is Jesus Christ, and that disciple teachers are the ones who communicate Christ’s teaching to people?

You said: “So Jesus says there are no teachers, but then Paul says Jesus gives teachers as gifts to the Church? No sale, friend.”

Yes, and there is no contradiction, just as I explained above.

You said: “So then, with no way to deny it because we see the office all throughout the New Testament, we can admit, there are teachers. But now you want to say that the very thing that marks them as teachers is that they don't teach.”

Yes, they don’t teach their own teachings, but they teach the teaching of Jesus. That’s what Jesus also did when He was on earth: He didn’t teach from Himself as human, but from the Father, as I explained above (see John 8:38 for example). Indeed, if He preached from Himself, the Jews would accept Him:

"I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” (John 5:43)

You said: “This overly-pious pontificating you're doing is leading you into the absurd and contradictory. Whose benefit are you seeking in your comments, dude? Seriously. You need to consider that.”

To glorify God, as I don’t compromise the truth for the sake of being accepted by people who can’t hear it.

Grace to you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

Mesa Mike said...

This thread is getting tedious.
For the first time ever, I'm unsubscribing from a TeamPyro thread...!

I mean it, man!

Disciple of Jesus Christ said...

All indecent and dirty words are not to be even thought about among the saints. No need for human philosophy that aims to justify sin.

Disciple of Jesus Christ

Red and Black Redneck said...

Obviously, I find this philological discussion much more interesting than the file I should be working on.

Will S. - That is a good point about our righteousness being like dung or a dunghill, etc. Although Luther could have probably used an example that meant the same thing without a scatological reference. Isaiah was able to make that point by referring to filthy rags.

You are right, though. I wouldn't want to have to preach through Lev. 18 to a bunch of children. I also don't want to have to answer the questions "Daddy, what is ED?" and "Daddy, what is Preparation H?" while we are watching television either.

However, the arguably true observation that the average six year old would not be somewhat familiar with the topics addressed in Lev. 18 brings to mind the question of whether that has always been true. Years ago, I doubt that a child, living in a one or two room house, with a mother, father and several older and younger siblings, and surrounded by breeding farm animals would have been as ignorant of sexual reproduction as a suburban kid is now (presumably).

As a consequence, I doubt such a child would have been scandalized (or his parents) by a series of sermons on Leviticus. This is all speculation of course.

We know that there weren't cry rooms and Sunday school classes and youth worship in the fellowship hall amongst the puritans. Isn't it reasonable to assume that their children heard sermons on those topics?

If you are arguing that we ought not not be prudish about things the Bible gives no reason to be prudish about, I wholeheartedly agree. The Victorians should not be our standard for biblical behavior, language and ideas anymore than Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, or George Carlin.redip

Phil Johnson said...

Disciple: "Let us be humble, dear Phil."

Ironic words from a guy who has spammed this thread with more words than the original post and all my comments combined.

Please give it a rest.