Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Paul Tripp: The War of Words

This past weekend was the national Desiring God Conference titled The Power of Words and the Wonder of God. For those of us who weren’t able to attend, you can attend virtually by going to http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByConference/41/ The two messages that we’ve listened to so far have been dynamite.
Mark Driscoll’s How Sharp the Edge? Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words had so much punch in it, I’m not ready to attempt to post on it now. I might attempt it later.

Paul Tripp’s War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God’s Sake was also powerful.
Here are his major points:

1. Words have been invested with tremendous power. He gave verse after verse to show that what comes out of our mouths has the power to build up and give life, or destroy and kill others' souls. We cannot excuse our careless words as “just words.”

2. Our problem with saying and speaking loving words is a heart problem. There is no greater evidence of our tremendous need for God’s grace than the words which come out of our mouths.

3. There is an organic consistency between what’s in our hearts and what comes out of our mouths. There is nothing that comes out that wasn’t first in our hearts already. Then we have to ask: what kingdom rules our words, the kingdom of self or the kingdom of God? The kingdom that rules our hearts will dictate our words. The default cry of our hearts is: “I want, I want, I want!”

4. There is glorious, enabling, sufficient grace for this struggle. God has already given us everything we need to win this battle! (1Peter 1:3) This grace is ours when we confess we have a heart problem that we are powerless to conquer on our own. But this is not just a one-time confession; it is a day in and day out crying out to God to transform us into the image of His son and free us from the bondage of sin. As our heart is slowly transformed, our words will be quick to show it.

Tripp’s three prayers every morning:
1. Confession: God I’m a man in desperate need of help this morning.
2. I pray, in your grace, that you would send your helpers my way .
3. I pray that you would give me the humility to receive the help that comes.

These notes hardly do justice to the power of this message. I just wanted to whet your appetite.


Julie said...

I love the humility of that prayer! I don't think we can hear God speak to us (obey Him) without realizing our desperate need of and dependence on Him each day.

Archie said...


I had heard from a younger man in our church that Driscoll was becoming blunted. That he no longer had harsh words and a sharp edge on his sword for sin and heresy. Would you say that this is not the case? Or have you not heard/read him past this lately?

I am very interested in what you and Chris have to say.


Leslie said...


We do not listen to Driscoll on a weekly basis so I can't comment on what he says to his congregation regularly. However, it would be very, very difficult to believe that he has become weak after listening to his talk at the Piper conference. He railed on for over an hour about how important it is to use ugly words for ugly sins, as the Bible does. He would be a super duper hypocrite if what your friend says is true.

However, it seems that Driscoll has matured in his preaching and some could misinterpret his maturity as becoming soft. In his conference talk he spoke about using different language for different people. Jesus was ruthless with false teachers and had harsh, horrible words for the pharisees. But had someone overheard Jesus' conversation with the woman at the well, they may have started whispering to others, "Jesus has become soft on sin. He spent time talking with an adultress who had been divorced five times, is living with a boyfriend, and he didn't sharply rebuke her to her face."

Driscoll mentioned that there are times to encourage, to gently lead the sheep. I have a feeling that his ministry early on was characterized by the shock value of his boldness and audacity of proclaiming the truth unswervidly. But now he realizes that the congregation needs other kinds of exhortation, besides just rebuke. Encouraging, spurring on, that sort of thing.

As far as heresy goes, he did not flinch from saying the Bible commands us to shoot the wolves (figuritively speaking, he doesn't actually bring a gun to church, don't want to start a virtual rumor here.) What he meant was do everything necessary to protect the sheep from false teachers and from heresy of all kinds. He said pastors are to sacrifice their popularity, their reputation, their buiding project and church-growth plan for the sake of protecting from heresy.

Well anyway, I hope you are well. Fun to hear from you.

Archie said...

Dear Leslie,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this out. It was very helpful. Time for me to do a bit of homework it seems...

I hope that you and fam are doing well.

Love to all,

Archie and Heather