Sunday, July 13, 2008

Words Matter!

Steve Camp's blog is usually a daily read for me. However, I am a bit behind on my reading of several of my favorite blogs. This morning, I read a post that was originally dated on July 10th at Camp On This. Steve brilliantly points out how exceedingly important it is not to add any extra-biblical words or opinions to the text of God's Word.

Be sure to go to the above link and read the questionable text that Steve discusses in his post.

Next, you might want to stop reading when you reach the question section. Feel free to post your answers here. Then, return to Steve's blog and read his rather excellent response to the issue at hand.

This exchange is just another example of why Christian believers must be responsible and very careful to always adhere to sound doctrine when sharing God's Word with others.

It is not a responsibility that I take lightly.

Because we are human, we can make mistakes. Therefore, it is important (IMHO) for fellow Christians to gently correct each other wherever, and whenever we find error.


Here are the two questionable and errant quotes written by two (apparently very respected) authors posted over at Steve's blog:

CJ spoke of our Savior's cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?" And though I have contemplated that amazing cry often, never did it hit me as hard as in CJ's message, when he referred to it as "the scream of the Damned."

Then there was break and music and announcements, and John Piper stood up to bring his message. Several of us had prayed in a back room that God would anoint John, and pick right up where He left off in the previous message, and wow, did He. John referred repeatedly to the "scream of the Damned," and then moved into Romans 8.

A flood of tears came as God preached the message to me yet again. That Deity would be Damned. That the God who is called upon righteously by the saints and angels in heaven to damn people, and called upon habitually by unbelievers flippantly and unrighteously to damn people, would in fact damn his Son, would (from the Son’s willingness to drink the cup) damn himself…for us. That it could be said of the Beloved One, “God damned Him,” and that He screamed the scream of the Damned….it was too much for me. It is too much for me this moment. And in the ages to come it will continue to be too much for me.


John Piper from his sermon on 'The Screamed of the Damned.

Everything exists to magnify the worth of the scream of the damned. That’s the point of the universe.

What we will do forever in heaven is magnify the worth of the scream of the damned.

Calvary will not be forgotten. It is the most-horrible, most sinful, most agonizing event that ever was - it will be the center of heaven forever.

Hell exists, cross exists, sin exists, heaven exists, you exist, universe exists, in order to magnify the worth of the scream of the damned.

What is the apex of the revelation of the grace of God? And the answer is the scream of the damned on the cross.

Here are Steve's questions.

Words matter; especially when expounding God's Word

Some initial questions I have about this disturbing phrase are:
is it biblical?

does the Scripture speak of the substitutionary death of Jesus for the elect as Christ being damned?

is this just cultural contextualization?

is it emotionalism run amuck?

is it sensationalized passion?

shock the flock nomenclature designed to wake up tired ears?
is this sound doctrine, theatrics, dramatics, blasphemy, or truth?

You may want to answer those questions yourself, then go back and read the rest of Steve's post and the comments.

Please share your answers to the questions and any additional thoughts you might have concerning this topic!

HT: Camp On This


Christinewjc said...

My comment at Steve's blog:

Whew Steve...for a moment there I was worried! The skewed interpretation that these men share of Christ's words on the cross during the propitiation for our sins is not biblical. The true gospel message does not fit with the idea of Christ uttering "the scream of the damned."

I only read as far as the questions you posed. I have decided to stop reading, answer them, and then plan to go back and read the rest of your post (as well as the comments here).

Words matter; especially when expounding God's Word

That may be a simple and obvious sentence, but it contains profound truth!

In today's post-modern world, even well-meaning Christians can be (and are) guilty of re-phrasing things in an extra-biblical way. We must guard against such errors.
The so-called "new" scholars of today would do well to go back and read the commentaries from the masters like Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, James, Faucett and Brown etc.

Some initial questions I have about this disturbing phrase are:
is it biblical?

No!! It only serves to add confusion. At first, I thought your post was going to be about those who are condemned to hell doing the screaming. It was shocking to find that the authors of the sermon related it to Christ and his suffering on the cross.

does the Scripture speak of the substitutionary death of Jesus for the elect as Christ being damned?

No. Of course not!! That doesn't make ANY SENSE! If Jesus was ever "damned" how could He have been raised again uncorruptible? As the sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, it was OUR SIN that was damned...not Jesus! Jesus took the sins of the whole world upon his earthly body. However, because Jesus never sinned himself, he alone is worthly to satisfy the penalty for OUR sin...something that we could not ever do on our own!

Jesus is holy, righteous and blameless. This is why he satisfied God the Father's righteous judgment of man's sin through the punishment of death at the cross.

However, Jesus left our sins in the grave. He rose to life everlasting and now sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.

Because of his sinless sacrifice, as believers, our sins are as "far as the east is from the west" and God the Father looks upon Christ's sacrifice as the "once for all" act to redeem us and reconcile us back before God. We are then seen as "not guilty" in His mercy and grace!

is this just cultural contextualization?

I would say yes.

is it emotionalism run amuck?

Most definitely! And the sad part is that they are spreading a kind of heresy through doing so.

is it sensationalized passion?

I think so. It appears that they wanted to add something "edgy" to their presentation. However, the danger in doing that is that they are skewing the genuine meaning and exegesis that we are supposed to get out of God's Word.

shock the flock nomenclature designed to wake up tired ears?

It certainly got my attention! But if those "tired ears" are not getting the truth, then the "shock value" isn't worth it!

is this sound doctrine, theatrics, dramatics, blasphemy, or truth?

It is not sound doctrine and therefore, not truth. It could very well be a combination of the other three choices you have listed.

Since I have not read the rest of your post yet, I may be repeating some of what you have already written.

I do think that this is just another example of "itching ears."

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2Tim 4:3-4

The error that they are espousing may not have anything to do with "lusts," however the "turned into fables" from the above verse certainly fits.

Anonymous said...

1 Cor. 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Accursed, Strong's # 331 : anathema

2) a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if an animal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction

a) a curse

b) a man accursed, devoted to the direst of woes

Christinewjc said...

Thanks Sosthenes! I shared your comment and link over at Steve's blog.

Apparently, Steve's correction of these two individuals has created a bit of a firestorm over there. The Bible verse you have provided here was perfect to share with him at his blog!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I'm just glad that the truth gets out.

I think they are doing this to add shock value and to be relevant to their audience. Who really pays attention unless there isn't something going on and can they get an audience without doing this? I'm also concerned because John Piper is on the reading list of some pastors who I suspect are emergent.

John Piper has used bad words before and change needs to happen first in our hearts before it can change other people. We want to be changed into God's likeness so we need to pray for John Piper because I'm disappointed in him while I'm not really surprised.

Christinewjc said...

I need to check out those links.

Uh oh...I think I must have angered the author of that blog. It appears that the link to this post was deleted. Must have been something I wrote that did not agree with his particular denominational ideology? I don't know. This is a copy of my latest comment (and most likely was responsible for the link deletion):

Well said, Cindy. People can get so testy when it comes to accuracy in apologetics.

You wrote:

"Both men share platforms and churches and venues with those who directly teach that Jesus was/is ETERNALLY subordinate to the Father within the Trinity. I believe that that concept is very relevant here. The modern version of subordinationist teachings arose out of a need to bolster up the complemenarian argument, but it is not their origins that are of concern to me but the teaching and the concept that Jesus is of lesser authority than the Father.

Note what Jesus stated in these verses:

Jhn 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?

Jhn 10:30 I and [my] Father are one.

We are only human and are prone to error unless we strictly adhere to what God's Word reveals to us.

I think it is healthy to discuss important issues like this one in order to prevent any gradual (or quick) slide into heresy.

It isn't a question of who is ultimately correct in these's the revelation of God's Truth that wins the day.

Pro 15:10 Correction [is] grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: [and] he that hateth reproof shall die.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

All of us need to head the message of those verses...including me. Correction by other believers is good. I find myself being very grateful when corrected according to Scripture. I think it behooves us all to have such an attitude. We can't let pride get in the way.

When I was a "babe in Christ" and had not studied the Bible yet, I leaned upon the following verse. After over 20 years of study, I still do!

1Cr 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

God bless your day and your walk with Christ.

I did visit Cindy's blog and after just a brief scan there, found that there are probably issues that I don't agree with there. But I still stick behind what I posted at Camp's blog. If someone feels the need to correct me via Scripture - go right ahead. I'm always open to correction.

God bless your day Sosthenes!

Anonymous said...

John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

John 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

Cindy said...

Hi Christine,

This is Cindy (the troublemaker apparent???) from over on that Steve Camp thread.

I appreciated your response which I took to be somewhat in support of my asking to agree to disagree with that Puritan Reformed fellow. I posted a response this morning that was blocked by Steve which I bothers me as it I honestly do not think that it was disrespectful at all, considering that the person commenting was so hot under the collar, even after I provided quite a few references in response to his demands for me to to rescind what I had previously posted. (Maybe my original post is no longer there???) Anyway, Steve moderated out my post and then politely asked me to take the discussion to my own blog. (I don't understand why he could not have done so after he allowed my post to go through, as it makes me look a bit like I didn't want to be forthcoming with Puritan Reformed.)

I can tell you, if you don't already know, that I made comments that were quite critical of Bruce Ware, an apparently powerful Reformed Baptist professor. Out of curiosity, I googled "Bruce Ware Steve Camp" and noted that Steve has recommended Ware's books in the past. So I tipped some pretty sacred cows!

I really don't understand why on earth your comment was deleted, save perhaps to make me look more wacko than some of these folks believe that I am.

I just don't understand why a discussion of why a doctrine that makes Christ of lesser authority and who cannot hear prayer would be unrelated to a discussion of how He was not "damned" by the Father. I also wonder why Steve did not mention that the whole buzz phrase was coined originally by RC Sproul with whom he has a strong relationship. That seemed to be notably absent in the blog post.

I don't understand what the hubub was all about. I would have made no further comment there had I not been challenged by someone to defend what I stated. ?????

Christinewjc said...

Hi little troublemaker you...tsk tsk (J/K) ;-)

Thanks for coming over here and sharing some helpful insights as to why that thread was shut down.

I didn't have any comments deleted; however, the link to this post was gone from Steve's blog last time I checked.

Just went over there again and the link is back up! Several additional links have appeared as well.

When my link disappeared, I figured that Steve must have not liked what I was writing over there (or, perhaps here as well). I wrote a second post which I titled: Correction and Reproof when I saw that the link was removed.

Like you, I think that it is healthy to "correct and reproof" each other as Christian believers. If we don't help each other out in that respect...who will? The topic was not a trivial one - so - it wasn't as if we were engaged in any "foolish" arguments.

I'm not always correct in my statements. No one is ever perfect! I WANT fellow Christian believers to point out errors and/or mistakes that I make! This is how I learn (how we all learn).

The fact that R.C. Sproul once made a questionable statement (whereas, he has made thousands that are wonderful and biblically accurate!) just demonstrates that he is as human as the next person!

You wrote, "I just don't understand why a discussion of why a doctrine that makes Christ of lesser authority and who cannot hear prayer would be unrelated to a discussion of how He was not "damned" by the Father."

I thought that it was definitely related. That's why I shared some Bible verses over there. My blogging friend Sosthenes shared some excellent verses and insight as well.

Why is it difficult for people to admit that they are, or could be wrong on some matters? Been there...done that!

Perhaps "Puritan Reformed" will show up at your blog to continue the discussion there. Since he/she appeared angry and upset, maybe the whole discussion will just be dropped. Had that happen over here, too.

When I first started blogging, I left comments open. Rarely did I get any nasty "anonymous" posts. However, about a year ago things changed quite drastically. I had to go to comment moderation.

I'm glad you stopped by. Please feel free to visit and comment anytime!

God bless you -
In Christ,

Cindy said...

Good morning Christine,

(I'm not usually up this early, but my cats are weird with the full moon! They'd better let me sleep all night tonight!)

So it looks like the posts and links disappeared and the reappeared? When I first found this blog, your post was gone but the link was there. The whole experience of posting on Steve's blog was odd yesterday. When I tried to post the comment that was moderated out, I lost my internet connection three times and my firefox browser was acting strange also. Your comment was gone. And mine never posted. (I wonder if it was submitted multiple times in the process of working through my internet problems, and maybe Steve Camp thought that was weird? I dont' think we're going to find out!)

I only went back to see if Puritan Reformed came back on to give me an "I told you so." I didn't want to go back and read and re-read. I'm already disappointed that I had a post held back (that I even read to my husband who was home from work checking with him before I sent it).

I do know that there are people that have been named that want all my material referencing them offline. I've never been contacted personally by them but they've resorted to what I think are pretty aggressive or threatening measures to "erase" a lecture I gave a few months ago. Someone suggested that they are offended in Matthew 18 style, but that involves personal contact. There's only been political posturing that's taken place along with measures that I think were pretty unfair to my scholarship.

But that's okay. We've all got to answer soberly to a Holy God one day, and I have enough weight of my own to worry about. But in light of the disappearing links and posts yesterday and consideration of how others have tried to silence information on this topic, I could not help but wonder what on earth was going on. (What's that old quote? I think Henry Kissinger once said something to the effect of "Just because people are paranoid doesn't mean that no one's really out to get you.)

I'm sorry if I've jumped to conclusions that are not valid about posts and links blinking in and out of public if that's not what happened as was some cosmic computer glitch. Part of me would like to know what happened, but the other part of me is probably better served by remaining ignorant.

What a mess we make of things!

Christinewjc said...

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for clarifying and sharing all that you did here. Just wanted to acknowledge that I have read your post.

Had a busy morning! I ended up spending lots of time on a comment and then used it in my latest post.

I will be back later to reply to your two posts in more detail.

Have a great day!