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Hurt Feelings for the Gospel

You’ve read plenty of comment threads where the only argument people can make is to insult other people. My favorite species of this is when people call other people judgmental or elitist while oblivious to the irony of such a charge. Perhaps you’ve read certain reviews and counter-reviews of recent books where there was far less interaction with the content of the books than speculation about the mental health and moral fitness of the reviewer’s interlocutor.

Depravity is fun, is it not? I speak as a fool.

You may be entirely averse to any sort of strong sentiment (besides ‘passion’) among Christians. You may even be consistent about it: you may break out in a clammy sweat when you read about Paul wishing that the Galatian heretics would emasculate themselves, or when Jesus pronounces devastating woes upon the Scribes and Pharisees. At this point, I would applaud your consistency. However, you may wish to consider that there is, indeed, a time for all things. People cross lines. Peter eschews Gentile believers. David commits murder by proxy. Grecian widows are neglected. Hezekiah shows the bad guys his treasure. The nation snuggles its idols and pretends to covenant faithfulness. Unless the Lord leaves people to their folly, feelings are going to be hurt.

In an age marked by depravity, it is OK to feel–and express–your antipathy toward manifestations of depravity. It is also OK to use appropriate rhetorical devices to convey that antipathy. In fact, it is Biblical.

But enough of my rattlings: read this excellent defense of strong rhetoric.

The Reformation and Worship

The Orthosphere | Crossing the Rhetorical Rubicon: A Defense of Acerbity

About Christopher Ames

Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Boyceville, Wisconsin. Bicycle owner and operator. I used to play in a Campus Crusade band.

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