Nice is Not Always What is Needed

By Rev. Dr. J. Patrick Bowman

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Our society is increasingly guilty of making “nice” the standard for discourse, social intercourse, and judicial recourse. Nice is good, but not always what is needed. We’ve done away with tough love, honest debate, stark reality, and absolute truth, and have replaced them with the pablum of postmodern relativism. Look with me at a man who was known for many things, nice not being one of them.

Tertullian (160-220), named Quintas Septimius Florens Tertullianus, was born in Carthage in 160, the son of a centurion in the service of the proconsul of Africa. He received a very thorough education, studied law and became an advocate. About 193 he became a Christian and was ordained priest and began a long literary career in defense of Christianity. Tertullian was a born controversialist. He was a powerful adversary, an eloquent and fiery man of biting satire and compact logic. He often overshot the mark, wrote without moderation, and swept away opposition rather than convincing them. His expression was bold, concise, rugged, involved; he did not bother with beauty or form—he was ‘daringly creative and suddenly enriched the Latin tongue.’ With St. Augustine, he is one of the greatest Western theologians. Western theology is in his debt for many technical terms. Indeed, in a sense, he created the clear language of Western theology. As a great apologist and defender of the faith, Tertullian is known for what some call his violence of words. “[H]e is like a thundering white-capped wave which comes racing to the shore, while in the hollow of the wave rocks and stones and pebbles are ready to be flung on the sand.”

Please join me Tuesday (2/15) as we look at the subject “Holiness is More Than Being Nice,” on the Pursuing Holiness Wholeheartedly Podcast. Catch the broadcasts any time on Anchor, Spotify, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Radio Public, YouTube,, and here on the website. Wherever you listen, Please Subscribe!

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