Correcting misconceptions about blasphemy is the essence of John Wann’s post-COVID book, For the Honour of God’s Name, 2023.
Blasphemy is less about words and more about acts of omission, he argues.
Omitting God’s law from our lives. Rejecting God’s authority over Government, and watering down discipleship, all profane His Holy name.
In short, blasphemy is as it’s always been: the dishonouring of God.
For Wann, this is an abuse of grace, grounded in a misuse of who God has revealed Himself to be.
Taking His name in vain isn’t just about downgrading the Word of God to a foul word breathed out by foul men, profanity is creating God in man’s image.
Breaking the 3rd commandment begins with the breakdown of God’s holiness, Wann explains.
Profanity is man’s return to the great evil in Eden, which took man’s eyes away from God, and convinced man he could become one.
Blasphemy is ‘anything that diminishes or takes away from God’s holiness, or any of His other characteristics.’
Taking God’s name in vain is ‘diminishing God’s holiness, goodness, justice, mercy, love, faithfulness, power or forgiveness, in the eyes of our neighbour,’ Wann wrote.
The profaning of God’s character is a distortion of where, through, to, and in whom, God has made Himself known to humanity.
Resting on the Infinite Qualitative Distinction, Wann asserts that blaspheming God is man’s attempt to tell God who He is, who He can be, and How He should act.
The Bible is clear, Wann [rightly] recounts, every time man profanes God, by asserting himself as lord over God, bloodshed follows.
This rejection of God’s Revelation – His self-revealing both objectively through His Word, and subjectively through His Spirit – is what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain.
God tells us who He is.
Any deviation from Revelation is an ‘empty, frivolous, and insincere use of His name.’
The Mosaic Covenant’s 3rd command relates to commands 1 and 2:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’
‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ (Ex.20:1-3, ESV)
Profaning God’s name isn’t just a contempt for who God is, profanity is the attempt to name, describe, and worship God outside the boundaries of His revealed existence.
If I’ve read Wann properly, this profaning of the Triune God is well illustrated by the world’s caricatures of Him as a grey-bearded, bent-over, bitter old man.
Concocted here is the image of a grumpy patriarch, who, with big stick in hand, is always waiting to pounce, and kill all the fun.
As Wann’s exegesis of blasphemy infers, the profane version of God is a dangerous joke.
It’s far from the Biblical retro-prophetic, prophetic, angelic, and historical accounts of the Living God.
This profane, distorted caricature, sold to billions as God, is sin.
The real bent-over, bitter enemy, is what the Bible calls the old man.
This is the inert, corrupt condition of the human heart.
A great devourer of life, sin kills relationships, and is the right hand of the world, the flesh, and the devil’s nihilistic war on both the Creator and His beloved creature.
Blasphemy is therefore defined by dishonour, death, and destruction.
Just as man takes himself and claims to be a god, profanity includes taking what is unholy, then calling it Holy, and vice versa.
The profane is a form of perjury because it vilifies God’s name, and promotes ‘the disorder of moral, and spiritual degeneration,’ Wann warns.
Unpacking the consequences, he observes the oppressive exaltation of homosexuality and links the widespread manifestation of human depravity to God’s judgement on man’s elevation of self.
This, he concludes, is God judging societies for breaking with revealed Truth, and spitting on the Holy Spirit, in order to keep in step with the spirit of the age.
On the whole, I agree with Wann’s fresh approach.
His 108-page self-published work makes for a strong “No” to the excesses of Natural Theology.
This is where I think Wann’s Biblical view of blasphemy makes its strongest contribution to the culture wars.
Thrust onto the world by Neo-Marxists, these wars seek to dethrone Christ and coronate the cold, bony fingers of chaos in His place.
Socialist movements from Bolsheviks to Nazis, upwards onto Mao, and today’s Wokeshevism, are inherently blasphemous because they all make the same false claims to divine rule.
There’s a reason why these movements hate Christianity, and characteristically have always sought to undermine the church.
Profanity is a verb.
They want the kingdom of God, without God in it.
Christians have no excuse, or reason to support these self-appointed second revelations of God.
As John Bunyan might say, Christ the King already gives us The Way. The only thing required by man is to step into it and follow.
John’s book, For the Honour of God’s Name, will be available on eBay, and can be purchased online via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.