There are a couple of articles today that I think are worth pointing out. The first is, The Death Of New Calvinism by Stephen McCaskell. In his article, McCaskell addresses what he sees as a problem within the “New Calvinist” movement:
The idea of holiness is almost a peculiar doctrine for the new Reformed movement. I know many young and old in this tradition who feel no obligation to actively and passionately with their entire being, to pursue a life of holiness. They wouldn’t explicitly say this, but their lives wouldn’t reflect otherwise. …
The problem young reformers seem to have is in regards to the fruit of that “Great Exchange” – the fruit of our lives, the good works we are to do, the life of holiness. It’s clear throughout God’s word that we are to love our neighbor, serve the poor, give generously, cloth the naked, etc. We aren’t doing these things to obtain Jesus, but because Jesus has obtained us we do these things. In other words, we are to do these things FROM our position in Christ, not FOR our position in Christ.
His concern is that this new brand of reformers have forgotten that as Christians our lives should be marked by a pursuit of holiness. Not because we make ourselves worthy of Christ, but because He has already made us worthy. Our lives should show evidence of His work and the work of the Spirit. I think he makes a very good point.
The other article while published separately and unrelated to the first is a good illustration of what McCaskell is talking about. The Trouble with Cussing by Carolyn Arends discusses a trend among some Christians to defend using expletives or foul-language:
Except … it’s cool these days to be a Christian who swears. It gives the curser an “I’m into Jesus, but I’m not legalistic” badge. A recent tweet about a behavioral study that linked swearing and honesty went viral among my church friends (although no one could produce a link to the actual study). Many of these friends point to the arbitrariness of the cuss-word system. …
Contempt is a mixture of anger and disgust, expressed from a position of superiority. It denigrates, devalues, and dismisses. It’s not hard to understand why even subtle levels of contempt are damaging—not only in marriages but in all human interaction.
If profane language has a privileged place in the lexicon of contempt, then Christians have a unique mandate to avoid profanity. It’s not that abstaining from pejorative language outfits us with some holier-than-thou halo. It’s that we are called to live with a servant’s heart, affirming the dignity of every human and the sacredness of existence.
I have heard at least one pastor in the PCA say that cussing (to use the Southern word) isn’t a sin. I’m not so sure he’s right. It seems to me that Arends makes a good point. I think that the Scripture gives plenty of warning to us on the need to control our tongues. I think we should expect our lives to bear witness to who we are as believers.
What do you think?