2008 National Desiring God Conference

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God

All the video from the conference is now online:

You can also read Dr. Piper’s message here. Abraham Piper provides this summary for us:

The way we talk can undercut the cross. This much is clear in 1 Corinthians (1:17; 2:1). But does all eloquence minimize the gospel? Does the pursuit of verbal impact necessarily preempt the power of Christ?

Both George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards were eloquent, each in his own way. Did this “empty the cross of its power”? More than that, the Bible itself contains many portions that are nothing less than eloquent. How do we make sense of this?

A pointer is found in the context of 1 Corinthians. Here Paul makes clear that there is a kind of eloquence that exalts self and therefore cripples the cross. But this isn’t the only brand of eloquence. There’s another kind, a distinctly Christian eloquence, that humbles self and exalts Christ.

Our eloquence will never be the determining factor in causing someone to believe the gospel, but it still makes a difference. We can hope for at least 5 benefits from Christian eloquence:

  1. keeping interest
  2. gaining sympathy
  3. awakening sensitivity
  4. speaking memorably
  5. increasing power

[HT: Abraham Piper]