Monday, March 1, 2010

Is My Sarcasm Towards NT Wright Wrong?

My previous post about NT Wright's propensity for giving complex (and often foggy) answers to simple questions drew some fire. One response in particular zeroed in on my use of sarcasm towards Wright. "Anonymous" wrote:

I'd really like to understand how you think 1 Cor 13 should apply in the way you speak about other Christians. You are rude and sarcastic. How does that tie in with 'love is not rude...'. Love rejoices with the truth. You seem proud that you have the truth worked out perfectly, but where does love (which will remain) come into your behavior?

This is an interesting discussion and there is certainly a lot of voices out there renouncing the use of any form of sarcasm. Considering my somewhat frequent use of sarcasm, I thought it worthwhile to post my response to "Anonymous":

Anonymous, you quoted that "love rejoices in the truth". Then why isn't Wright loving homosexuals enough to give them the clear answer Scripture gives?

I never speak bad publicly about other Christians. Wright denies imputed righteousness (an essential component of the essential doctrine of justification) as revealed in last Wednesday's post. Exposing a heretic does not qualify as "speaking bad about another Christian". In fact, Romans 16:17 demands that I do so. Shepherds have two primary jobs, feeding sheep and protecting them from wolves. I would contend that both are loving actions.

As for sarcasm, you may be right. Maybe I crossed a line. You'll have to make that subjective call in your own conscience. Scripture, however, certainly doesn't forbid sarcasm - Scripture sometimes uses sarcasm and/or hyperbole to strengthen a point. How about when Jesus told the Pharisees that "they that are whole need not a physician" (Luke 5:31) and "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). Do you really think that Jesus thought the Pharisees "whole" and "righteous"? The apostle Paul uses the method of sarcasm and irony to teach the Corinthian church humility in 1 Corinthians 4:6-13. I would also point you to Christian blogs like Pyromaniacs where they defend sarcasm as something that can be a valid biblical approach. I also think that sarcasm can be innappropriate at times. My main point being that the use of sarcasm is not the problem but whether it's use is appropriate.

I have seen sarcasm used constructively in bringing out powerful truth about the Gospel. Watch these two videos as an example. The first is Rob Bell's dreadful mockery of the Gospel in his "Bullhorn Guy" video where he invalidates the preaching of Gospel truths such as hell, judgment, repentance, and our own mortality (only watch as much of this video as you can take). The second video is a satirical/sarcastic parody of Bell's "Bullhorn Guy" video called "Bullwhip Guy". I think it makes a powerful point in its use of sarcasm. See what you think . . .


truth mission said...

It's interesting that some seem to be more concerned with the delicate egos of the wolves than the eternal destiny of the sheep.
Keep contending

McMurdo said...

I believe that the first ever piece of sarcasm came from the Lord himself - see Job 38:5. I think irony is certainly a part of our Judaeo-Christian heritage and is not wrong in itself.

Leaders in the Church of England, like Bishop Tom Wright, are very much a part of the establishment. Most spend their years in academia up until their mid 20s, then straight into the church, there are few real prophets from the CofE.

I only wish he could be as forthright on more weighty issues as he is on denouncing a political party like the BNP: