Sunday, October 20, 2013

Strange Fire One: Taming the Tongue


Silence is golden; duct tape is silver
Dr. John F. MacArthur recently hosted the Strange Fire conference, where he called on Christians to "declare war" on anyone with charismatic or pentecostal beliefs. That's hardly news. MacArthur's contempt for anything remotely charismatic has been legendary for decades.

Equally easy to predict: that the shrill reaction of a lot of charismatics would clearly reveal that self-righteous name-calling works both ways.

Perhaps not surprisingly, since I wrote a book entitled Post-Charismatic? a few years back, some people are wondering what I make of the current brouhaha surrounding MacArthur's Strange Fire conference (coinciding with the release of the book by the same title).

Let me begin by addressing this to EVERYBODY, myself included:
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1-12; thesis statement [verse one] repeated for emphasis and context for "taming the tongue")

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