September 01, 2008

Seasoned with grace

The rapid deterioration of Christian civility evidenced in our speech directed at each other has become a great concern of mine recently. Living in Lynchburg, Virginia, home of the largest Evangelical University in the nation, I am aware that many young people see the insistence on civility and the refusal to use or hear foul language as a hopelessly old-fashioned concept. Some of the philosophically inclined students refer to it as a "modernist value." And perhaps much of my thinking in this regard springs from my admittedly modernist mindset.

But what does God expect of His people?

I was pleased to read the title of John Piper's upcoming 2008 national conference: The Power of Words and the Wonder of God. I think it is high time for us to direct our attention to this concept and to seek God's will with regard to our speech.


  1. Richard,

    Thank you for your prayers. Please pray that the pain will ease up as I have had to return to work already. I negotiated with the doctor. He wanted me to take another 2 weeks off. I have to pay my mortgage. Sometimes it's good to understand communications as a counselor. LOL Anyway,thank you for your prayers and concerns.

  2. Sandy - I use a bible software program that includes a prayer list. You are on that list and I will adjust it to reflect these specifics. May God sustain you as you recover. I've missed you on your blog and here. But much more important than that, I trust God will bring healing and peace to your life. Hang in there, my friend. You're not alone.

  3. I realize I'm commenting on this post a month and more late, but do I understand correctly from this post that a) the Emergent types try to say it's "modernist" to avoid cussing (that's so ignorant it's funny), and b) that Liberty is being taken over by the Emergentists?

    I think a is pretty clear from the post and from one of your others about profanity-laced Emergent books and sermons. But I may be over-reading to infer b. If Liberty is a victim of takeover here, I'm really sorry to hear that. You probably know that Cedarville has fallen to the Emergent Movement.

  4. Unfortunately, Lydia, you understand what I was trying to say. But I have found this viewpoint of civility in language being a Modernist concept mainly from the students. So they may have brought this concept to the school with them and not be actually getting it from Liberty.

    On the other hand, the professors from Liberty whom I have met lean strongly postmodern. I don't know that I would describe them as fully Emergent, but they are definitely caught up in some elements of the Emergent Movement mixed with many more elements of the Seeker Sensitive Movement. It's an odd paradox, and they don't seem to see the disconnect between these two very disparate world veiws.

    I had not heard about Cedarville heading that direction. That makes me sad. Cedarville was a very good college at one time.

    The president of Liberty Seminary says things from the pulpit that are totally inappropriate, but at least the sermons are not laced with profanity. He gets somewhat sexually explicit and suggestive in his attempts at humor from the pulpit and he has a great following of young people who are enamored with his bravado. He's probably the most Emergent of all of the Liberty professors that I have met. You may have heard of him. His name is Ergun Caner and he is best known for his opposition to Islam. He claims to have been raised Muslim, but was actually very young when his family moved to America and he was no longer taught Islam at that time.

    His other claim to fame is a vitriolic and nonsensical opposition to Reformed theology.

  5. Emergent-ish and opposed to Islam is a weird combo, because from what I know about McLaren & co., they're very nearly syncretistic. I think it was McLaren (but it may have been Bell or someone like that) who has a chapter of a book called something bizarre like "Why I'm a Muslim Buddhist Christian."

    Interestingly, at least one of the departments at Liberty (Bible? apologetics? if they have an apologetics dept...) is strongly evidentialist, I happen to know independently, which should mean absolutely downright having no truck with postmodernism. In fact, it's my opinion that strictly as a sociological matter, presuppositionalism has left Cedarville open to the whole postmodern stuff.

    Human nature is fundamentally odd, though, and one gets exceedingly strange alliances and outcomes in academic politics. And at a Christian school (especially one with no tenure), a committed administrator can pretty much turn the school into whatever he likes. Cedarville does ostensibly have tenure but has fired tenured professors for criticizing the Emergent stuff. I believe there are several legal actions in the works, and some profs. have had their legal actions settled out of court in return for an official agreement of silence. I know they had their families to think of as far as finances, but it's a shame, because these things need to be told.


No personal attacks. No profanity.

Please keep your comments in good taste. Leave a name so we know who you are. Your comments are welcome, but anonymous flames and sacrilege will be deleted.