Friday, July 13, 2012


Overstatement At Issue

Out of Ur looks at a Mark Driscoll sermon that generated a lot of discussion.
Never mistaken for being soft or indirect, Driscoll shares his concern that too many people are editing God by picking which of his attributes they like and which they'd prefer to discard. "I love you," he says, "and I have to tell you the truth." The real fireworks begin at the 4:30 mark on the video.
Driscoll then goes on to engage in the time honored tradition of overstatement. It brings to mind two question for me. Firstly, at what point does overstatement become lying? Secondly, as Christian attempting to teach the truth, does that mean we are supposed to offer it with all it subtleties which are often more than the listener can even comprehend?

Generally speaking I would never choose to engage in overstatement in a public presentation - conversation sure, but in a speech or sermon, I'd try to avoid it. The problem with such public venues is that you have no control over "the echo" - that is to say who will repeat it in what circumstance.

But more generally, I think that if we are people that are truly transformed by Jesus we do not need to engage in overstatement to drive our point home. If Christ is aline in us, our non-verbal cues and lives themselves will add the force to our point better than overstatement ever could.

When tempted by overstatement, it is often best to turn to yourself and ask why you feel it is necessary, and then pray about that.
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