The Power of Words and the Wonder of God :: Review

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God Review

Up for a quick book review today is a book called The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, which I finished up a few weeks ago. This small book (176 pages) was published back in September of 2009 by John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, and Mark Driscoll come together with worship pastor Bob Kauflin, counselor Paul Tripp, and literature professor Daniel Taylor to discuss the power that words have, and how our speak can both edify and vilify our brothers and sisters in Christ.  This book came out of the Desiring God National Conference in 2008 with the same name (2008 National Conference Messages), and each author takes a chapter in their own specialized field to discuss the impact of words on our life, specifically that of Scripture. All in all a great, quick, read for those Christians interested in words.

I will admit that from the start I didn’t expect much from this book other than a good collection of a few sermons, but I was quite surprised by its depth of content and overall usefulness in application. The book isn’t broken up like this, but below are three sections or reasons I found quite valuable, and a book I would highly recommend reading.

  • The Power of Words in History
    The Power of Words takes a great look at the history of words, spoken and written, and how people like Luther and others used their power of words to change the church, even if it was crude at times. It was needed. Look at what Luther was fighting, and we can see that mocking and crude speech like this is sometimes called for.

    Luther argued that his theological opponents avoided the Bible: “I cry: Gospel, Gospel, Gospel! Christ, Christ! Then they reply: The fathers! The fathers! Custom, Custom! Statutes, Statutes! But when I say: The fathers, custom, and the statutes have often been in error; matters of this kind must be settled by a stronger and more reliable authority; but Christ cannot be in error—then they are more speechless than fish. (location 1576)

  • The Power of Words in Application
    Along with the historical look at how we use speak The Power of Words takes a practical approach to our speech today. Scripture has so much to say about how we should speak, and when we should refrain from speaking, how devastating the tongue can be, and how we can use it to lift people up when they are down.

    We foolishly assume that our real struggles with sin are in the areas where we are “weak.” We do not well understand the depth of sin until we realize that it has made its home far more subtly where we are “strong,” and in our gifts rather than in our weaknesses and inadequacies.

  • The Power of Words in Music
    The last section was the most unexpected section, but also contains the most valuable affirmation of music and its importance in our earthly Christian walk. I really didn’t expect a section on music that talked about words and speech, but this section took the book from being a good book to being a great book. If you are at all involved in the music life of the church (and technically we all are), this section should be a must read. Three great points (of many) that were made on the power of music today were stated by Bob Kauflin saying:
  1. There’s certainly a place for expressing our subjective responses to God in song, but the greater portion of our lyrical diet should be the objective truths we’re responding to: God’s Word, his character, and his works, especially his work of sending his Son to be our atoning sacrifice.
  2. We conclude that a certain beat, volume, chord progression, instrument, or vocal style is evil in and of itself. But unless those aspects are spelled out in Scripture we should be cautious about assigning a moral value to them.
  3. An increasing number of churches have adopted the practice of offering different services for different musical tastes. While that decision can be well intentioned, I believe the long-term effect is to separate families and generations and to imply that we gather together around our musical preferences, not Jesus Christ.

Overall, The Power of Words is one of those books that is such a quick and easy read that even if you have a slight interest in how words and speech affect our walk with Christ, you should pick up this book. Each author or contributor adds to the value of this book, and even though you might not agree with everything they stand for personally they have put together a great collective word on the power God placed in the written and spoken word.

Prop 8 Proves Homosexual Lifestyle Acceptable to God

Of course this is utter ridiculousness, but, that severely flawed logic seems to be what is prevailing in our culture today. This topic, which I usually just tend to leave alone, is overpowering the news, blogs, and culture lately (and is certainly nothing new under the sun, gay’s have been trying to justify their actions for millennia, see Why is Being Gay a Sin? for a civil discussion, Does Romans 1:26 Condemn Lesbians? for the absurd justification, and then an honest “Christian Perspective”, not forgetting to throw in Anne Rice who recently “quit” Christianity on Facebook [comments in pdf,] with Mark Driscoll’s response for the Washington Post, because she didn’t want to be “anti-gay anymore”, and the countless trash talk about Proposition 8 in California).

With Proposition 8 being overturned by the California courts, this seems destined for the Supreme Court (where they probably don’t want to deal with it either). The Boston Globe did a huge photo spread called Same Sex Marriage about a week ago and the responses to that article show why this, unfortunately, is THE topic of our day for Christians and the church.  This discussion really wasn’t intended to launch into whether being gay is a sin or not, but to show the absurd arguments on both sides, which lack any careful thought.

This comment below is typical when reading trash talk on the news sites, and was made by someone who used the title “I Feel Drawn Towards Christianity, But I’m Gay”, which then received very complimentary responses, with little question for the lifestyle itself, or with sound argument for or against Christians and the homosexual lifestyle, and what scripture has to say about it’s effects and consequences.

I was surprised in a few ways, one by how openly acceptable the Christian responses were to this person.  Not that they were accepting of the person, that’s great, but accepting of all aspects of the persons lifestyle, with not much need for contemplation (although some did suggest the person generically seek God’s direction). The other surprise was how utterly weak the reasoning and arguments were that were used on both sides.

I am certainly no expert on this topic whatsoever, and there are many who can soundly argue, on both sides, but those seem to be few and far between.  No gay person I talk to (and many Christians for that matter) can give a sound theological argument, backed and based on scripture (since this person “feels drawn to Christianity”).  The majority of the arguments put forth are emotional arguments, which are impossible to argue against in a rational manner.  This is the argument that was given in this particular case:

The Bible also condemns divorce, the eating of pork and shrimp, and says that men shouldn’t sit on the same chairs as women who are menstruating.

The argument seems to lack even a surface level study of scripture, but most Christians responded with nothing other than an emotional response.  As with much of Scripture in our culture today, these verses are taken so much out of context for the use of the argument for a homosexual lifestyle I am surprised they were made? I am not being mean or hateful in spirit here, but seriously, if you are gay, this is your argument?

  • The Bible condemns the eating of pork.
  • We eat pork today.
  • Therefore, homosexuality is ok in the sight of the Lord.

There are so many things that could be addressed but at the basic level, in Mark 7:18-19 Jesus declared all foods to be clean, he didn’t declare all forms of sex to be clean. A better argument that perhaps shows a little more clearly why scripture says that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful in God’s eyes (and there are many things that are actually still seen as sinful in God’s eyes today, besides homosexuality), would be:

Point 1 on Sin:

  • The Bible says sin is detestable in God’s eye’s.
  • Therefore any continuous sinful act is not honoring to God.

Point 2 on Marriage:

  • The Bible defines sex outside of marriage as sin.
  • The Bible defines marriage as a monogamous union between a man and a woman.
  • Therefore any nonrepentant sexual relationship of any kind outside marriage is sin in God’s eyes.
  • Therefore a nonrepentant homosexual lifestyle is sin.
  • Therefore a nonrepentant adulterous relationship is sin.
  • Therefore any sexual relationship before marriage is sin.

I rarely see those “hateful” Christians everyone seems to refer to today that will acknowledge that the last three are equally sin, and equally condemned by scripture, but, that doesn’t mean that either is less or more acceptable to God as a way to live that honor’s God. I do not say that in a hateful manner but in an examination of scripture.  I also recognize that many, or most, “gay Christians” will take issues with my argument above and defend it away in some manner.  The statements above are all based on scripture and can all be backed theologically with sound argument.

Our culture as a whole is continually refusing to see objective truths in the Bible today. Whether we like to ignore them in our day or not, they still exist, there are still things that God says are good, and those things God says are bad, we just seem to have so much knowledge in everything that we have no knowledge in the actual truth anymore.