To retract something is to pull or hold something back of a previous assertion. In light of that definition, I have one to make. Since it regards the whole concept of blasphemy, I think it would be helpful to review what blasphemy is.
Thayer’s dictionary defines blasphemy as the following:
1) slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another’s good name
2) impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty
William Hendriksen expands on this:
Among us “blasphemy” may be defined as “defiant irreverence.” In this connection we think, for example, of such crimes as cursing God or the king who reigns by the grace of God, of willful degradation of things considered holy, pulling them down to the realm of the secular, or of claiming for the secular or purely human the honor that belongs to God alone. – Hendriksen, commentary on Matthew 12:31
To be impious towards God is certainly blasphemy. It denotes a lack of reverence or piety towards Him or His name. In a word, it is to be disrespectful.
To willfully degrade “things considered holy, pulling them down to the realm of the secular” is certainly blasphemy. That denotes a reduction of something to a lower level, to verbally reduce character or worth.
I began thinking of this and recalling a post that fluffed not a few feathers among the brethren some time ago. It was a post regarding the rapper Shai Linne and a video he released entitled Atonement Q&A, in which he referred to our God as ‘the hottest poppa’.
In that post, I firmly said that addressing or referring to God in such verbage was irreverent. I still believe that. What I did not say was that it was blasphemy. Oh, I was accused of saying that in the post, yet no one ever, not once, came forward and to show in the post where I said it was blasphemy. Obviously, they couldn’t, because I never did. I did say it was blasphemy in a tweet, but far, far, far more people read the post than follow me on Twitter.
Which brings me to my retraction.
I said then and I say now that referring to our most holy God as ‘the hottest poppa’ is incredibly irreverent, and for reasons I’ve already given in the original post.
What I never said in the post was that it was blasphemy.
I should have. I was wrong, I believe, for not doing so. And, I apologize. If I had truly cared as I should have for the young people caught up in the entire ‘holy hip-hop’ movement, I would have called a spade a spade, so to speak. I would have called it what it was, blasphemy, because that’s what it is. It is not a name by which God calls Himself in Scripture, and we are never given liberty to address or worship God in a way of our own choosing. Brethren, these things are indisputable.
So, for the record: My previous assertion was that Shai Linne calling God ‘the hottest poppa’ was incredibly irreverent. I never went so far in the post to say it was blasphemy, but again, I should have. I held back.
A retraction is taking back a previous assertion. I take back my previous assertion of mere irreverence, and I will now call the spade for what it is.
Blasphemy. A forgivable sin when not against the Holy Spirit.
Not only was it blasphemy what Shai Linne did– and to date, publically been unrepentant of – but all the bloggers (some leaders in the reformed community) who posted the video as a wonderful thing – they encouraged this blasphemy in others. That is nothing less than horrific!
Do you fear God enough, brethren, to be jealous for His names sake? Do you fear Him enough to refuse to call or refer to Him by names which He has not given Himself? Names that are impious and degrading – and worldly!?