Should Pastors Cuss?

From the Mail Box...

I received an email from a leader (we'll call Allen) who saw this vid that I posted of Perry Noble speaking and asked me these questions:

Dear Allen:

I think this is a very good question. Let me just say, in response to your question, that as a communicator myself I think I have a healthy concern about this topic. I do believe it is important that we be very careful to consider the audience we are reaching as we prepare our messages as well as the language or approach we use in communicating that message. With that said, I can certainly identify with the struggle of being "cutting edge," or "cool" while not compromising the message you are trying to communicate -- and the integrity of the church as you mentioned.

I cannot speak for Perry or any other communicator for that matter but I know that I personally don't use any language on stage that I wouldn't off stage. I know a couple of pastors who are very popular today who occasionally "cuss" on stage. While I personally would not use words that I would consider "cuss words" on stage, I am guilty of using bywords like "flippin" and "freakin"-- so who am I to judge? I think it all comes down to the heart. I don't think we'll ever have blanket permission from God on topics like this ... but we must move forward with our own personal convictions and pray for other communicators and pastors as they lead. Furthermore, let me just say that scriptures like Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth" and Matthew 12:36, "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment" scare me -- and these two scriptures alone should make us choose our language carefully and pray before we speak!

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7 Responses to “Should Pastors Cuss?”

  1. # Blogger Gman

    Can someone define "Worldly" Humour?

    Weird term if you ask me.  

  2. # Blogger Mike

    I heard about a pastor saying the "s" word during a message and then he said, "Are you more concerned about the fact that I have said sh_ _ or are you more concerned about the fact that there are dead and dying people who need Jesus Christ living right across street from this church?  

  3. # Anonymous Molly

    I really dislike the word "worldly" we live IN the world and to reach people FROM the planet earth, occassionally we need to "flippin grow a set"-the message in question (yup I watched it) was to a certian segment of society AND his congregation- YOUNG UNMARRIED MEN- who (for any of us that HAVE teenagers) talk like that and much worse.

    Do any of us really think that those gentlemen would have gotten the point if he said something that would have appealed to Andy Griffith and Opie?


    Usually when a message hacks me off (is that offensive?) it is because it hit to close to home.

    Additionally, I would be seriously disappointed if I was listening to someone speak who was a different person infront of the congregation ...which is worse?  

  4. # Anonymous Bryan

    First of all, Terrace, I first heard about you as you followed me on Twitter. I followed you and have enjoyed your posts.

    Second, I read the quoted email, and based on the concerned person's email, I found nothing offensive in Perry Noble's sermon. I've heard a number of Noble's messages, and I've never found a "cuss word" or a suggested inuendo. I think we must be careful that we don't miss the forrest for the trees. Innovative pastors such as Noble, Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley, and even Dan Kimball do tend to attract other innovative-yet-lifelong church-goers, but their primary focus (at least in the beginning) has been the unchurched, or the "de-churched." Using words like "flippin'" or "dad-gum" or "crap" will in no way sound like cuss words to unchurched or de-churched audiences. They'll go in one ear and out the other, and most of these pastors have no intention of using the words as "cool" words. They're just communicating without a formal set of notes. Their talks are conversational and approachable. It humanizes them and makes the mind of the unchurched comfortable at once. I'm sure this concerned person emailing has great intentions, but we have to make sure we're not looking for ways to be offended by people. Let's not go looking for the speck in the eyes of our fellow Christ-followers. Once we've plucked the plank from our own, let's concentrate on helping those around us to find life to the full (and that's the same in any language). :)  

  5. # Blogger Nick

    I think the question here isn't "is it permissible," it's "is it beneficial?" Will anyone be led to Christ by using swear words (or replacement words, for that matter?) I completely agree that it's a heart issue, and as a youth pastor, I've tried to teach the youth that it's not just what you say, it's your intentions behind those words. However, as a light to the lost, it's not just the intent of our hearts that matters. If we say something that causes someone to stumble simply because we aren't being careful enough, won't we be held accountable for that? Shouldn't we be held to a higher standard than the world (and yes, the world probably won't notice our words, but the world is numb to sin...isn't it a refreshing wake-up to the world when they hear someone NOT use those words?). So, I think the standard is: Will this lead someone to Christ? Or is it more likely to be a stumbling block?

    As a related question, here's a topic I saw being debated on a Christian website the other day: "Is it ok to show video clips from major movies as sermon illustrations that contains cussing?"

    Grace and peace on you all, and blessings as you minister in the name of Christ!  

  6. # Anonymous tomcottar

    love your posts, bro. here are some thoughts to chew on.. Sincerely, my intent is NOT to offend anyone. feel free to delete the following if you need to! I"m just throwing some thoughts out to consider...

    I've been reading some sermons and letters of now-dead pastors lately. In fact one of them writes something to the effect of "I now consider everything else as caca (Gk. skubulon) compared to knowing Christ." Of course, the interesting thing is that he wasn't addressing churched folks, not de-churched or un-churched.

    That same pastor, after planting another church elsewhere, wrote to another group of believers. There were those among the church who began following Christ by grace, but then believed that by the law they should be circumsized. He tells his church that he wishes those people would just go ahead and go varsity: instead of circumcision, try emasculation! (Could that be construed as a 'cut off your pickle' joke? And from a Pastor no less!)

    I also remember God Himself telling Job (38:3) to 'gird up your loins like a man and I will ask you...and YOU instruct Me!' Modern day translation? 'Put a cup on because I'm coming at you hard!'

    I want to be clear: coarse talk can be a very thin line, and maybe the rules become fluid from culture to culture. We ARE called to a higher standard. But defining that standard can be tricky sometimes.

    After all, that same Pastor also said, 'Imitate me.' (I Cor. 4:16)

    blessings to all of you. I'd love to hear your thoughts...  

  7. # Anonymous tomcottar

    sorry....last sentence of 2nd paragraph should read 'he WAS talking to church folks...'


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