continues to demonstrate his awesome abilities with manufacturing mountains out of mole hills. I can’t think of another internet blogger (except for maybe David Cloud, but he isn’t really a blogger) who can take one issue he happens to disagrees with and blow it out of such enormous proportions a person would think the entire hope of evangelical Christianity is on the verge of complete and utter collapse.
I am often truly amazed at such feats of hyperbole that often comes from Camp.
What is it that has Steve in a tither?
The original post can be read here, but to summarize for the reader,
Desiring God Ministries, John Piper’s outfit, will be having a conference at the end of September addressing the theme of the power of words and the wonder of God. As a promotion for this up coming conference, some videos were produced to illustrate the importance of the theme. One of the videos is of popular biblical counseling guru, Paul Tripp, discussing the significance of cuss words and edification called “What Makes Bad Language Bad?”.
On this video, Paul retells answering a question from one of his kids asking him about why are certain words considered bad. In answering the question, Tripp explained how some language is meant to explicitly express acts of sin on which we should not dwell. However, he explains there are certain words, though they are not necessarily bad in and of themselves, that are still ungracious and just plain crass. He then uses as an example the “s” word, and I don’t mean “stupid.” He repeats the word at least half or so dozen times on the video. Of course, its use is in the context of providing an answer to his kids, and now the video audience. As he continues his talk, Tripp describes how after he mentions the word his children began repeating it in various expressions. Seizing the moment, Tripp explains to his kids how the word is more than just being a crass word but one that does not minister edification to the hearer, what should be the aim of all language that comes out of our mouth as Christians.
Honestly, that is the video. But, the way Camp tears into Tripp for even uttering the “s” word (and I don’t mean “stupid”) with the righteous indignation of an armchair mullah, and of course beating on Piper for just having his name attached to the video, you would have thought it was a porno or something.
Now, let me be straight up honest with a few thoughts.
Could one make a case that Tripp should had exercised wiser discretion with his descriptions of language? Certainly. I for one would had cautioned firmly to modify his language so that he would not be actually using the word in the video. First there is a propriety of a well-known, reputable Christian teacher in biblical counseling using language like that, but secondly the addition of folks like Camp and his many back slapping readers irresponsibly twisting the video out of proportion will lead to unnecessary strife. But the video is hardly the vile, smutty rag Camp is making it out to be, and Tripp is hardly a “pomo” as he is falsely accused on his blog. I wasn’t “offended” by it when I watched his comments in the context they were offered, and I definitely feel no need to stir up pretentious feelings of outrage against either Tripp or Piper at the behest of Steve Camp.
Further more, I have never been a big fan of Piper. I have liked some of his books from the past and he has preached a few message that have touched my soul, but he is not a preacher I seek out to hear. I know he has been the darling of the young and restless reformers for near a decade now, but he does hold to some quirky ideas which I will leave for the time being, and his preaching is too saturated with histrionics for me to truly enjoy it. Lots of people like him, I don’t so much. That being said, he is hardly on the verge of apostasy for posting this video of Tripp and allowing Mark Driscoll to speak at his conference.
And for Driscoll, I am not a big fan of his either. I think he is too frivolous in the pulpit. His explicitness in his preaching has become a stumbling block for many and that is something no preacher should want to have attached to his ministry. What do you want to be remembered as when you die? An edgy speaker who pushed the barrier of appropriateness in your messages? Or someone who proclaimed clearly with out compromise the Word of God with class, dignity, and gravitas? Think Martin Lloyd-Jones, and perhaps S. Lewis Johnson. I also don’t care for a lot of Driscoll’s ministry philosophy. By thinking practical ministry must be altered to specially meet the needs to the post-modern, younger generations, I believe he undervalues the sufficiency of the gospel and the sovereignty of God in salvation. At the same time, however, I do believe he has been too harshly criticized and turned into a much bigger boogie man than what he truly is.
Camp cites Ephesians 4:29 as the passage Tripp violates, but he did no such thing. If one would consider the context of what he actually said in the video and why he said it in a responsible manner like the disclaimer at the beginning of the video tells the watcher to do, Camp’s complaint is just plain misguided and is needlessly stirring up division when none should occur.
Ephesians 4:29 speaks to an established pattern of conduct and speech. In other words, a person who is marked out as having a foul mouth. This conduct and speech, though, is more than just cuss words. It directly speaks to edifying speech, and a person can have unedifying speech with out the use of cuss words. Mark Driscoll, I believe it can be argued, fits this category. Even though he doesn’t use specific cuss words his sermon illustrations and other content in his messages are often times corrupt words as explained by Paul in Ephesians. I can think of several fundamentalist preachers who could easily fit into this category. Many in the KJV-onlyist crowd certainly fall under Paul’s warning.
Paul Tripp’s video when he uses the “s” word does not, however; and I think Camp making this an issue is much more damaging to the Body of Christ than a cuss word uttered a few times for the sake of explaining proper edification. In my opinion, Steve owes these guys an apology for overreacting.