Posted by: watchman | June 7, 2009

Potty Mouth Preaching

There is a post on Leadership’s blog about preachers using colorful language. The post even includes a video by Ed Young. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that we are even having this conversation. Yet, some pastors have gone so far as to call for eachothers’ heads. For instance, MacArthur called for Mark Driscoll to step down because of his language.

My son is going to be awake any moment, so I will contain my thoughts to a few bullet points:

  • who cares?
  • Ed Young’s video was weird. tl;dr?  “I’m too cool to be a prude, but you young whippersnappers better knock off the cussing.” Then, he almost crashes.
  • If you refused to say things because some church lady would be offended, you would hardly ever utter a syllable.
  • Two of the offensive words ed Young mentioned were “damn” and “hell.” Fundamentalists like MacArthur have been using those words for years. Usually, they are in the scripture reading.
  • What should we make of the times where the Bible uses colorful language? Paul tells the Galatians to castrate themselves, Elijah wonders whether Baal is on the toilet, and even Jesus calls Herod’s court a bunch of pansies.

What do you think?

Oh, crap! My son’s awake.


  1. Hey Corey-you know I’ve always been a fan of colorful language. Recently though someone pointed out to me Ephesians 5:4–“let there be no filthiness…foolish talk…crude joking” I suppose you could say most any of the commonly understood to be vulgar words in some contexts w/out violating this prohibition. Do you think?

  2. Mark, you are correct. Context is very important.

    Mark, the chapter break between chapters 4 and 5 is very unfortunate. Eph 5:4 was written in the context of 2 verse in particular (in my opinion). The first context is verse 3 of chapter 5. Paul seems to be emphasizing that if the Gentile converts are going to truly be a part of the Kingdom, they need to leave behind the old Gentile ways (4:17) which included a sex crazed religion.

    The second verse that is important is 4:29. Here, Paul encourages people to use their words for building up, and not tearing down others – edification. So, we must remember our context. If I tel you a particular joke or anecdote, will it edify or encourage? Or will it cause a useless controversy?

    Sometimes a good laugh is necessary, even in a sermon. Sometimes it is not. What is never necessary is going through other people’s ministries with a fine tooth comb, as I fear pastors Young and MacArthur have done to their younger counterparts.

  3. thanks for the insight Corey-one of the things I’ve always valued about conversation with you is a fresh perspective on things–in this case Scripture–I hope you continue to add richness to our lives by sharing your thoughts

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