Thursday, June 4, 2009

Debate over profanity in the pulpit

Too interesting not to be highlighted.

Go to the Out of Ur website for the fuller story and an interesting video clip response which I think needs to be taken serioulsy . Read the comments as well.

One of the comments I found insightful is a quote bt Tony Campolo (even if I have heard it before it has stuck in my mind ...) He said ...

I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a sh!t. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said sh!t than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.

Preach Dirty to Me

The debate over profanity in the pulpit. Is Mark Driscoll being relevant or reckless?

For a couple of years now, long-time pastor and theologian John MacArthur has been critical of Mark Driscoll's use of crude language in the pulpit. In the end, MacArthur believes Driscoll has crossed a line, and it's time for him to step down from ministry. MacArthur's comments have ignited a heated debate in the blogosphere (as you might suspect).


At the 2009 Basics Conference last month, another long-time pastor and theologian, John Piper, fielded a question about this debate. Piper, who along with Driscoll, is a card carrying Calvinista, offered a measured and thoughtful response. While strongly disagreeing with Driscoll's language and dismissing the necessity of swearing to be relevant, he does not believe the Mars Hill pastor needs to resign. You can listen to Piper's response here.

In related news, Ed Young posted a video on his blog yesterday about pastors using profanity.

In the video Young says:

We must be very, very careful not to offend anyone with bad language. The Gospel is offensive enough without having to throw in the "hells," and the "damns," and the "sucks," and the "I'm screwed," and the "crap" every other breath.


  1. I believe that as preachers if we claim to speak for God or allow God to speak through us, must watch our language.

  2. I was talking about this a couple of hours ago during games with a couple of church members. One person made an interesting comment which to me was encouraging. He said that my preaching style was pretty colloquial and I have never needed to use "profanity" to get the point across.

    Many of us Christians I think use certain words without thinking. I hear words like "crap" and "shit" used far too very often. I myself have caught myself using the term "damn" in certain situations (thankfully no *four letter words*). I think we need to be real - but I do think that as preachers we need to be held to a higher standard and what we say and the kind of words we use is important.

    I think we can address real issues honestly without resorting to using profane language.

  3. i'm guilty of "crap" frequently and "damn" occasionally. :):) must try to change to "shoot" . . . . sometimes it just pops out, you know.

    the "F" word is reserved for the times when i'm ranting to very good friends. only when very very angry, and speaking in a safe space. :)

  4. I think there is a big difference between letting a questionable word slip out in a conversation and a deliberate use of such words in a sermon.

    For me if I were to do so it would only alienate more people and I doubt the ones who might think "hey, this pastor is so cool" would be motivated to become better disciples because of this.

    I'd rather use stuff like kindness, logic, passion and ... magic :-) than questionable language...

    Though I think the way Campolo used the word "shit" was justifiable in the context of the message he was trying to get across.

  5. :):) very thoughtful and helpful reply. thank you. you're right, modeling kindness, logic, passion, etc. is always more helpful.