profanity and logs

I wrote recently about problems with the current Desiring God conference and the silence of FINOs with respect to it. As an update, you should check out another post by Steve Camp, Steve Camp’s outrage over Mark Driscoll. The culpability of Piper et al with respect to the blasphemous Driscoll grows with each passing day. No rebuke from anyone? Will the Piper groupies, any of them, turn in their Fan Club badges?

I must say, however, to Steve Camp, when we are speaking of profaning the holy, how is Driscoll’s language any worse than your music? The sound of the bar and the disco isn’t the sound of the choirs of heaven, is it?

I agree with everything Steve has written in these posts about profane speech. But profanity (making things common) occurs in more ways than just by speech. The church culture that ultimately produced a Mark Driscoll is one that has been profaning holy things for a long time.

May we all repent of our sins and plead our unworthiness before our Holy Saviour.



  1. You are connecting the dots too well.

  2. Don,

    I have really appreciated this series of updates. Thanks for calling attention to a serious problem among young fundamentalists. I have been arguing some of the same issues for a couple of years now.

    The moment one of my pals in the “Fan Club” has me thinking I am the only one sounding the alarm I read one of your articles.

    Keep up the good work.


  3. Pete Simms says:

    LOL. So Camp’s music is profane. And this based on what? Your cultural biases, background, and teaching? For sure, you cannot make that call based on the Bible.

  4. Yes, Steve’s music is profane. Not his poetry, necessarily, but his music.

    You can’t expect the music of the world to elevate the affections to God’s glory and the product of a whole generation or two of spiritual decline via music is the anything goes speech of Driscoll and other serious problems of the modern church.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  5. Steve Camp’s music is profane because it is worldly – it is exactly like the world’s music.

    Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines profane as:

    1. Irreverent to any thing sacred; applied to persons. A man is profane when he takes the name of God in vain, or treats sacred things with abuse and irreverence.

    2. Irreverent; proceeding from a contempt of sacred things, or implying it; as profane words or language; profane swearing.

    (Steve Camp may not think he is being irreverent, but using the music of the world shows he does not have a proper respect for the holiness of God and of music that should be glorifying to God.)

    3. Not sacred; secular; relating to secular things; as profane history.

    (Christian Rock music is not sacred – it is taking something secular, adding a Christian label to it, and voila, making it “Christian”.)

    4. Polluted; not pure.

    (Rock music is impure and polluted!)

    Nothing is profane that serveth to holy things.

    5. Not purified or holy; allowed for common use; as a profane place. Ezek.42. and 48.

    (Rock music is the common music of the world – it is neither pure or holy; therefore not fit for true worship of God.)

    6. Obscene; heathenish; tending to bring reproach on religion; as profane fables. 1 Tim.4.

    (Much of rock music – whether “Christian” or not – is obscene. It is the music of the lost world – therefore heathenish -, which the devil has convinced compromising Christians to adapt in their worship of God. And yes, CCM – so-called Christian rock/country – does bring reproach upon the Lord and the things of God. There are even lost, secular rock stars who rebuke CCM artists for their choice of rock music!)

  6. I didn’t finish this last sentence/thought:

    There are even lost, secular rock stars who rebuke CCM artists for their choice of rock music! They are rebuked because the lost person believes that rock music has no part in the lives or worship of Christians, and believe the Christian using rock music is compromising and being hypocritical.

  7. Pete Simms says:

    Let us be clear. It is profane based on your opinion which means nothing really. I am quite sure you have no understanding as to how the music you like also has “the world” in it. You ignore all the commonalities that exist in all music and focus on a few things that offend you such as percussion.

    And as for affections. If you are referring to the so-called distinction between emotions and affections that some are espousing these days, that is just drival. It is bad philosophy from Plato, Descartes, and Edwards. It is not Bible.

  8. Pete, please don’t assume what I know or don’t know.

    Also, please refer to Jerry’s citation of Webster above.

    And consider these questions:

    1. Is the music of today’s church more like the world than the music of the church at any point in history or not?

    2. Isn’t making something common or ordinary the very definition of profaning?

    3. How does the music of today’s church make God holy in a world awash in sensualism?

    Thank you for commenting and not being a “drive by poster” as Steve says. BTW, my criticism does not mean that I dislike Steve. I find him a very intriguing man, and I agree with a good bit of what he writes (not the Calvinism, though!! [vbg]). But I strenuously disagree with his music and think it damaging to the church.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  9. Pete Simms says:

    OK, I will bite a little.

    I do not know you, but have every doubt that you know very much about music by the way you talk. You can prove me wrong if you can answer these two questions:

    Compare any Steve Camp song you wish to any hymn you sang last Sunday in your church.

    1) Name five technical commonalities between the music. (not obvious things like they both have a melody)

    2) Name five technical elements that are different.

    Now, I assume you can answer this simple exercise if you are going to publicly attack the music of a man that obviously loves God and shares a lot of common beliefs with you.

    If you can answer these questions, I will engage your other questions. If you can’t, we have no ground for discussion because you do not know anything about what you are talking about.

    I will also suggest that if you mean “common”, use the word “common.” You guys love to toss out “profane” and “vulgar” as synonyms for “common.” Technically you are correct, but we live in 2008 and those words overwhelmingly mean something else now. Using those two words comes across as a inflammatory play on words. For example, your blog design is not very wonderful–it is quite common. But I would not go around calling it “vulgar”.

  10. Pete, are you trying to make the elitist argument that unless you are a musical technocrat, you are not qualified to critique music? I hope not.

    I will refer you to an old post where I highlight some of the rationale behind my philosophy of music: Answering Musical Questions.

    As for ‘common’ vs. ‘profane’, I use the words I mean to use. To make something holy into something common or ordinary is a very profane thing to do. We are not to do it with something as simple as God’s name, we shouldn’t do it in the forms of our worship either.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  11. Pete Simms says:

    You are welcome Don to like or dislike music to your heart’s content even when you know nothing about music. But if you are going to dogmatically judge someone else’s music and call it profane when you know nothing about music, that is a travesty.

    To be more clear, you are wrong to do that. I notice you have ducked my questions. I am not surprised. Your distaste for certain music is based just on your uniformed biases without any Biblical backing.

    This by the way is why your group has lost your holy war against modern music. You never had a good enough argument to fool the music novices much less anyone that knows music.

    If you want to make some headway in your fight for conservative music, stop making dogmatic uninformed statements and find a real expert that at least can present your side in a logical fashion. That will require someone new by the way. The men of the past have had their arguments weighed in the balance and found wanting. The new faces advancing this passion vs affection theory will fare no better because it is based on flawed philosophy rather than the Bible.

    That being said, I despise some of the foolishness that exists in the CCM industry and the ranting of Driscoll too. I just don’t think what you offer is any better; in fact, I find it worse.

  12. Pete, your response is unsurprising. You are obviously an elitist.

    I am not a musician, I am the first to confess that!

    Must one be a musician in order to have a Biblical music philosophy? I think not.

    I have not really engaged your arguments because you are trying to play gotcha if I display any musical ignorance. That would be so easy. And I am not really interested in a back and forth on technical arguments, even if I were so equipped. That isn’t really the point. We are talking about a spiritual conflict, not a technical one.

    And… yes, I ducked your questions. They are irrelevant. But I will note you ducked my questions first.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  13. Pete Simms says:

    Ah, so you admit you don’t know anything about music. But you find yourself qualified to dogmatically proclaim that someone’s music is profane based on… preferences.

    Oh yes, Don, the technical stuff matters. You cannot tilt at windmills. If some music is indeed profane, there have to be specific technical items that make it profane. And you can’t give even one. But you are dogmatic, oh yes.

    By the way, if you did engage in my questions and wanted to learn rather than pontificate, you would learn that there are more similarities than differences between Camp’s music and your hymns.

    Yes Don, I am sure you do find Steve Camp to be intriguing. After all, you have to admit that he is an intelligent, passionate Christian who loves God and takes a stand that you wish your fundie friends would take. But you just can’t understand why he would be a CCM artist. Yes, intriguing.

    Of course, Camp knows music and you don’t, but it is still him that is wrong about his music, isn’t he, Don? It is inconceivable that the expert just might be right in this case. After all, your preferences and background tell you he is wrong.

  14. Well, Pete, I don’t admit that I don’t know anything about music. But I am not an expert.

    However, this is not about expertise. Would you say, that Mick Jagger knows something about music? Would you accept his expert opinions? Or pick a name? Are they people who can speak to the church about music simply because they are experts?

    There’s an old Hebrew word for that: Baloney!

    (or Balogna, if you’re a purist)

    But no, I don’t believe that this issue has anything to do with musical expertise. I believe it has everything to do with loving God first or loving the things of the world. That’s where profanity comes from in the first place.

    However, it appears that we are not progressing… and I don’t have time for a futile argument. Shall we leave it at that?

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3