Monday, January 15, 2007


I have been following a dialog between John Piper and some others concerning Piper's use of a profanity in his discussion with some students at the Passion 07 conference. Piper in trying to make the point that God will deal with us said that sometimes God kicks our a--! To his credit and with humility Piper has apologized for his use of language. I am a huge fan of John Piper and have admired him from afar as well as up close. I also admire how quick he is to acknowledge his weakness and shortcomings. The issue of foul language is a relevant one to our church culture as it has become in vogue for preachers to use foul language to make their points. Does it matter? Is it important how we speak? Wayne Grudem has emailed John Piper concerning his apology. Grudem encourages him in his need to apologize and congratulates him for it, but he also gives good scriptural references that speak to our need to speak with the glory of God in mind. From Grudems email;

ESV Titus 2:10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
ESV Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
ESV Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
ESV Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things

And then Grudem gives a great comparison as to what foul language can be likened to in our society;

"Using the words commonly thought to be offensive in the culture seems to me to be sort of the verbal equivalent of not wearing deodorant and having body odor, or of going around with spilled food on our shirts all the time. Someone might argue that not wearing deodorant or wearing dirty clothes are not morally wrong things in themselves, but my response is that they do give needless offense and cause others to think of us as somewhat impure or unclean. So, I think, does using words commonly thought to be "obscene" or "offensive" or "vulgar" in the culture generally. Plus it encourages others to act in the same way. So in that way it brings reproach on the church and the gospel."

I am thankful for the Body of Christ that helps to keep one another in check. I as much as anyone needs to hear these truths about speaking with the glory of God in mind. I need to be reminded to consider Him with every word, and to think of the impact my words might have on the gospel and my witness to and for Him.

blog you later,
pastor tom