I wish to express my viewpoint concerning your recent editorial “Sanctified Sarcasm” (April 1, 2010, p. 293).
First, though, please know I treasure the Standard Bearer. Also please know I highly commend Rev. Koole for his many fine articles, in which he displays his sanctified desire, dedication, and courage to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
My dictionary describes sarcasm as “a taunting, sneering, cutting, or caustic remark.” Being sarcastic is described as “using, or fond of using, sarcasm.” The dictionary says, “‘sarcastic’ implies intent to hurt by taunting with mocking ridicule, veiled sneers, etc.”
To my shame, I sometimes resort to sarcasm, or sarcastic thoughts. I could never defend such actions, under any circumstances.
In contrast to Rev. Koole’s defense of sarcasm (granted, only in carefully defined and limited circumstances), I call attention to all the Scripture passages which clearly militate against a Christian’s use of sarcastic language. (See, for instance, Romans 12:19; I Peter 2:20-25.)
Rev. Koole states that his defense of sarcasm is “in the context of biblical truth (which is our concern).”
Defending biblical truth includes more than exposing the errors of heretical teaching. It includes the Bible’s instruction regarding our whole conduct. (See James 3 in this regard.)
As much as I recognize a certain validity of Rev. Koole’s viewpoints in the article, I felt compelled to write my heartfelt response.
We can appreciate the good brother’s sincere ‘reservations’ about the Christian and any legitimate use of sarcasm. The points he raises are precisely the questions raised in the Bible study societies and were the occasion for the article.
But the question, then, is, what are we to do with the biblical evidence and reality—Elijah’s use of a mocking sarcasm and Jehovah’s scathing words towards apostate officebearers found in the various places in the prophets? Are they to be rebuked for such rebukes? We demur.
Dictionaries are a fine thing, but, unlike the Scriptures, they are not inspired. What we refer to as ‘sanctified sarcasm’ is not merely a ‘word,’ but a spirit and perspective towards those who in the name of ‘truth’ knowingly spout dishonest follies. Every scriptural evidence is that they are to be exposed for what they are, men set on folly and little else.
But the words of our brother do underscore a point worth taking to heart, namely, for the Christian, sarcasm ought not be common place, the rule, but the exception and used with discernment.