Friday, February 25, 2011

Cursing?

Even though my main interest is in the New Testament and I spend most of my time reading books, journals, monographs, etc., about NT studies, I also enjoy reading biographies throughout the year to give my brain a break. In 2011, I've finished one on WWII, a short (saw the longer version and got intimidated... will probably read it later) one on Jonathan Edwards, and currently reading two others: one on Bonhoeffer and one on George Whitefield. George Whitefield has always interested me to some degree and reports of him preaching to thousands in open-air preaching without amplified sound piqued my skepticism as well as curiosity in what really happened in his life. Dallimore's two-volume biography has been pretty good so far, and I like how he includes excerpts from Whitefield's own writings. In one particular sermon, titled Cursing and Swearing, Whitefield writes (and preached):

"What shall we say to the unhappy men who think it not only allowable, but fashionable and polite to take the name of God in vain; who imagine that swearing makes them look big among their companions, and really think it an honour to abound in it. Alas! Little do they know that such behaviour argues the greatest foolhardiness and degeneracy of mind.
...Men dare not revile a general at the head of an army. And is the Almighty God, the great Jehovah, the everlasting King, who can consume them with the breath of His nostrils, and frown them into hell in an instant; is He, I say, the only contemptible being, that may be provoked without fear and offended without punishment?
No! Though God bear long, He will not bear always!..."


I suppose in some ways, Whitefield was ahead of his time, as it is virtually ubiquitous that you'll hear on a given day: "Oh my God!" or "Jesus Christ!" or the more modern adaptation, "Jesus H. Christ!"

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