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Coolness and Cussing

June 20, 2009

I am sure that there have always been preachers and pastors who made a habit of using coarse or crude language. Maybe they even outright cussed. I suspect most, if not all of these preachers were somewhere out on the fringe. I remember Gene Scott used to sit in his recliner smoking cigars, drinking scotch, and cussing as he “taught” and “preached”.
In 2003, Thomas Neslon published Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. About half way through the book, he introduces us to Mark. Mark pastors a church in Seattle and says a lot of cuss words. Mark is Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. In Driscoll’s defense, he doesn’t cuss anymore. He does a really good job, I think, of watching his language. He can be a little coarse or crude sometimes, but he doesn’t really cuss.
Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, recently posted this video about preachers who cuss. I think it is a wise admonition to those who speak the truth of the Gospel. Warning: Young demonstrates some of the language he warns about.
What do you think about Young’s take on this? How far should preachers go with their language in trying to relate to their audience?
  1. Jacob permalink

    There is a difference between vulgarity and profanity.

    Profanity is against the divine. Vulgarity are words developed by a specific society. They change depending on where you are. Crap, suck, stupid, freak, etc. Are all examples of words that some would consider to be vulgar while others don't (probably depending on how old you are).

    You must also consider the motive.

    In Christian books, I consider using profanity to be inappropriate because you know they are only doing it to shock people.

    I don't consider that as a good motive.

    However, I suppose some preachers don't think about the words that some might consider to be vulgar, or, perhaps the words actually aren't vulgar in their context.

  2. wjcollier3 permalink

    I agree with your point, but do you think there is a difference between using those potentially vulgar words in the context of a conversation, perhaps about a ball game, and the context of proclaiming the Gospel?

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