Baby out with the bathwater?
The ‘Exiled Preacher’ presents his view regarding the matter of Christians and bad language, as I recently discussed here, and Alastair here and here.
“You may also find [bad language] on the lips of Christians and read it in their blogs. It seems to me (I say this to their shame) that some “liberated” ex-fundie believers [don’t look at me like that!] glory in using swear words. However, the Bible seems to forbid the use of such language. I know that I will have damaged my cyber cred by quoting Scripture, but I just can’t help myself,It needs to be remembered, of course, that this proof-texter has something of a history of loosing arguments with me (cf. the inerrancy series), so keep that in mind...
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)
neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks (Ephesians 5:4)
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth (Colossians 3:8)
Call me a proof-texter, I don’t care”
However, among those of us who have consciously moved away from conservative Evangelicalism there is the constant danger of throwing the ‘baby out with the bathwater’. For example, I have noticed that not just a few from within the ‘emerging conversation’ are prone, once they rediscover the cosmic in the NT and learn that the individual’s relationship with Jesus is not the ‘be all and end all of everything’, to stop entirely speaking of and delighting in God with personal and relational language - as if it were unscriptural. But this is an overreaction. Personal language certainly exists, for example, in the Pauline letters in terms of the believer’s relation to the risen Lord – I’ve spent some exegetical space in my doctoral work showing just this.
And the same could be said in relation to inerrancy. Once it is accepted that, at the very least, a strong definition of inerrancy should be dropped, some loose practical respect for the scriptures and a sense of expectation when they read it.
Or mission is rediscovered such that it becomes less concerned with the mere propagation of a propositional message, and all of a sudden, personal evangelism is forgotten etc. etc.
So the question needs to be asked: Is the cuss-frenzy just another overreaction to an overly introspective and painfully individualised piety within conservative Evangelicalism, which in many cases (though not all) couldn’t see beyond its nose when it came to morality?
How do you respond to EP’s argument, and especially his proof-texts?
As it is getting late, I will keep my musings to a sentence and leave the rest for the comments: I think the word ‘context’ is extremely important to remember.