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A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  375 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Satire is a kind of preaching. Satire pervades Scripture. Satire treats the foibles of sinners with a less than perfect tenderness. But, if a Christian employs satire today, he is almost immediately called to account for his "unbiblical" behavior. Yet Scripture shows that the central point of some religious controversies is to give offense. When Christ was confronted with ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Canon Press
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Start your review of A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking
Apparently a response to criticism over several years, this book defends the use of satire (both Horatian and Juvinalian) by Christians toward others (including other Christians). I was completely convinced. John Frame was not, though he has high regard for Wilson. Wilson defends himself here, and he simply strengthens his already strong case. Read a related interview here. I promote the book here.

This remains one of my favorite books, not because I am eager to make fun of people, but because it
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you don't like this book, you probably deserve to have it used on you.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly wonderful.

"Love that shuns a fight is an oxymoron....The modern evangelical world says peace, peace, but there is no peace. Neither is there love."
Ben Zornes
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm grateful for mentors like Doug Wilson, who challenge me to think biblically, write winsomely, and stand for truth unflinchingly. I've been convinced for several years now that one of the most lacking things in modern evangelicalism is the gruff voice of the prophet. Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal, but many of us Christians act more like mice in a library.
In "Serrated Edge", Wilson casts a vision, and provides instruction for using satire in the communication of the Gospel. We ought not
May 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Fun little book on why satire is biblical and not used enough by us sentimental American Christians.
Fr.Bill M
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The brevity of this book is one of its chiefest strengths, along with its solid and honest Biblicism. Goody-two-shoes Christians and Nanny-nanny-boo-boo liberals beware.
G.M. Burrow
Don't get shrill. Get satire.

Read this in September '07 and again in March '12 and September ‘20.
Shawn Paterson
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Love that refuses to defend that which is loved is not biblical love at all. Such a sentiment is actually self-absorption. Love that shuns a fight is an oxymoron, and so I turn the charge around. The modern evangelical world says peace, peace, but there is no peace. Neither is there love.

I love the right worship of our triune God, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit of both. I love the Church, despite the make-up she is currently using. I love the Scriptures, and th
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book’s argument is that sometimes sarcasm and mockery are legitimate tools for a believer to use against inane teaching and practice. Defending himself against arguments that such tactics are not very Christ-like, the author argues that quite the opposite is true, showing from the Scriptures Jesus’ own use of such tactics. He also points out where the prophets and apostles do the same. The author, in fact, not only suggests that such tools are legitimate but are sometimes necessary in the de ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set Free to Laugh

Toward the start of this book, there is a description of the different reactions Christians might have to satire. I usually belonged to the camp that would begin to laugh but then stifle it down thinking it might not be appropriate. I feel a lot more free to laugh now. This was a great defense of the proper, Biblical use of satire, and a great explanation of what the proper use of satire looks like. If you’re curious about either of those things, I’d recommend this book!
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I remember being flabbergasted in college when a fellow Bible study-goer to a group I was attending made some offhand comment that sarcasm was out-of-bounds for Christians. I remember thinking, "Have you read the book, though?" and so it's nice to see a formal defense of such speech. Terribly enjoyable as always from our favorite, Douglas Wilson.

Favorite quotes:

"One of the greatest problems in the Church today is that we do not understand that for those who hate God, love for God is arrogance. F
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very few books are written on the humor of Jesus, and interestingly, this book seems to point out why in the process of defending satire as a biblical discipline. I read this on the Kindle and it was very difficult to read because there are some formatting issues. It was also difficult to read because the author, Douglas Wilson, quotes biblical texts from the KJV only (Mardel share holders, can I get a what what?) This book is priceless, though! Wilson spends a considerable amount of ink using S ...more
Keith Brooks
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Found this book very helpful and actually challenging for my personal life. Anyone who condemns Wilson does not know him nor his heart.

With that said, I am constantly baffled by the praise for his writings as writings. Some of my friends have compared him to C.S. Lewis which makes me think they have read nothing but Lewis and Christian blogs. Doug Wilson is one of the worst stylists I have ever read, reading no better than a Buzzfeed article.

Listen to the man, but waste no (or very little) time
Bethany B.
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As a whole, a wonderful book.
I feel like people could take isolated passages and run wild, but the book itself is a firm exhortation to always go back to the Scriptures and to earnestly seek to honor God. I think this is an area that takes a lot of wisdom and prayer and should only be motivated by love (the real kind).

Lots of food for thought and discussion. Really enjoyed the book. Was truly convicted. And laughed...a lot. :-)
Jason Garwood
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. God, help us make fun of the right things...
Valerie Kyriosity
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once upon a time I owned a copy of this book and lent it to a friend whose husband did not get the message that it was a loan and went to town with notes and highlightings so it morphed into a gift which I did not resent in the least. Anyway, that's my excuse for taking so long to get around to reading it.

My only complaint is WHY ARE THERE PINKING SHEARS ON THE COVER????? OK, technically pinking shears have serrated edges, but they just don't seem to be the right image for this metaphor. This ha
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
I thought I hadn't read this before, but as it turned out, I'd read or heard most of it in various forms over the years. I also remember reading a list somewhere on DW's blog of "The Attributes of a Godly Satirist." (Perhaps this one?) Taken together, the book and list are convincing, convicting, and bracing. (Note: The list implies that not everyone is cut out for this gig.)

From what I can tell, the objections to the central thesis of the book (that not only is it ok for Christians to mock othe
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"But love is defined by God and not Hallmark cards."

This book is a defense of satire, and it is brilliant. Doug Wilson ably defends the use of a serrated edge in our rhetoric against enemies of the faith from without and within. Though he is winsome, he encourages us to follow the example of the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus Himself in employing a bite to our polemics.

When he talks about his critics in the use of satire, he writes:
"The motivation for all that they do criticize is love. Lo
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is Douglas Wilson’s defense of using satire in his writing/preaching. I’m not very well equipped to say whether it’s good in a Biblically accurate way, simply because I haven’t studied the subject enough to know whether I agree with Wilson’s conclusions. I saw many of his points as valid when referring to Scripture that is satirical. I’ve just never thought of Jesus and the Scriptures to be that way, so it’s a new concept for me. My brain hurts because of it. :) As for the writing, it was o ...more
Antonio LaMarca
Some good points

The entire book felt like it was written by a child (with a wider range of vocabulary) who had his feelings hurt by people who don’t like what he has to say. The author comes across as pompous, believing that his interpretation of scripture is the best interpretation. The book is all about defending his style of writing that is offensive to some, but was unnecessarily defensive in tone. Beyond that, he writes about not caring about offending people in the right circumstances, but
Josh Sieders
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I love Douglas Wilson. But I've wondered sometimes about his sharp wit and the scriptural warrant for it. He has talked about a "serrated edge" in blogs before and so I was glad to pick this up free during "No Quarter November".

I wouldn't say it was riveting, but it did explain where he's coming from and that he has thought through who he is, and what his mission is. It's more clear to me now what his target is (modern evenagelicalism) and how he sees his writing "ministry".

In that sense, I do
John Rimmer
Sep 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: wilson, nsa-mfa-books
Delivers. The world, in the state it's in today, and the church, in the state it's in too, needs more people with a tongue trained on this kind of thing. A dangerous tool if handled improperly or haphazardly, which is why many refuse to pick it up. The issue is when they then assume that no one can therefore pick it up. Satire, ridicule, and other forms of combative language have their place in discourse, even godly discourse, and when absent enables the propagation of all kinds of stupid. Good ...more
Joshua Huizing
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For some reason Christians don't emphasize God's or Jesus' sense of humor. You'll know about it after this book.

Doug Wilson makes a great case for why satiric bite is not just permissible but often godly.

(That cover could sure use an update, though.)
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a mocker of persons, places, things, and ideas myself, this book was helpful in two ways. First, it provided helpful argumentation and proof for satire that is well done; second, it provided helpful conviction for when it is not well done. I will reference it again the future I’m sure.

This book is short, but could have been shorter. The argument is convincing. Typical Wilson, which is it's greatest asset. Nice afterword by Jones. I hope reading this book will help me stop being so nice.
Jeremiah Horner
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
helpful and funny, as usual.
Joe Hyink
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
More persuasive than I thought it would be. Typical of Wilson's earlier writing.
Thiago McHertt
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, 2018
Very good.
It's hard to find anything on the subject.
It gets better if you read also Wilson's responde to Frame's critique.
Shaina Herrmann
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, favorites
This just earned a spot on my "favorites" list. Fantastic little book! I wish I had read this many years ago.
Jacob  Pippin
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that perfectly illustrates why I love Doug Wilson's writing. Short, helpful, and eviscerating in all the right ways.
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I write in order to make the little voices in my head go away. Thus far it hasn't worked.

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“The blessing has been so significatn that we have continued our satiric tact [sic] with an additional objective in mind -- keeping the suits and haircuts away. Whenever a promising movement of the Holy Spirit begins nowadays, one of the first things that happens is that the agents, businessmen, and other assorted handlers move in so that they might straighten out certain unmarketable "blemishes" in order to take the show on the road. And when a promising ministry hits the big time, the unfortunate people in it are made twice as much sons of hell as their promoters. It is therefore our resolve to stay as unmarketable as we can. If we ever get invited to the Great Black Tie Banquet of Evangelicalism, we want everyone there to be braced for the moment when we, on a prearranged signal, throw our dinner rolls at Pat Robertson” 0 likes
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