The Cussing Pastor

Posted on June 1, 2009

147 Replies to "The Cussing Pastor"

  • Bill (cycleguy)
    June 1, 2009 (8:50 am)

    Pastor Ed: thank you, thank you, thank you! Finally someone of “stature” has spoken up. I am a 56 year old lead pastor in IN and I know I do not have the weight to say what you have just said and be taken seriously. “I am a prude.” “I am a dinosaur.” “I am taking away someone’s freedom.” I refuse to even use the word c**p. I may be older but I do feel that pastors should speak with grace. Thanks again for posting this and for allowing me to post.

  • amy
    June 1, 2009 (8:59 am)

    Awesome Pastor Ed! How important are the words that come out of our mouth…thanks for sharing this and challenging us to really think about what we are saying! We have to think about all the junk that we put into our minds, through t.v., music, relationships, etc. and realize that what we are pouring in, will pour out! We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and have the wisdom to know that one word could possibly turn someone away…think eternal!

  • Alan Jones
    June 1, 2009 (9:18 am)

    well, I have a confession to make. I have a draft on my blog that has been there for 8 months called “The Cussing Pastor”. I had not finished it yet, and now I don’t think I will. Think I’ll post your video instead. Well said.

  • Peter Dodge
    June 1, 2009 (9:19 am)

    I was once told by some cussing teenagers that I need to expand my vocabulary. They though I should throw a few “words” around that they were using. Now I will be the first to say that I am guilty of all of the words you can think of that are offensive. However, none compares to the words of meaning that I have used that have cut and hurt others. It’s not just about cussing, some of us are very good at communicating, and say words with a great deal of calculation with the intent of hurting others. As for pastors, I remember being in a church in Ohio many years ago, and I heard a noted speaker, from the pulpit, used the word “pissed”. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. Than I began to rationalize it, and thought if this man of God who is an author, pastor and much sought after conference speaker could use words like that, then it must be okay. Great vlog Ed. It does drive the point home.

  • Ray
    June 1, 2009 (9:25 am)

    I could not agree more!

  • Mary Held
    June 1, 2009 (9:26 am)

    Come On Now!! PREACH! A much needed message for the modern church today. THANK YOU!

  • Tricia
    June 1, 2009 (9:27 am)

    Word Up!

  • M. Steve Heartsill
    June 1, 2009 (9:30 am)

    Totally agree Ed!
    Hoping that a large number of friends/peers hear your words spoken in love.

  • Todd Burus
    June 1, 2009 (9:33 am)

    Question: Why does it have to be that people are trying to “be cool” when they say things like ‘sucks’ or ‘screwed’? What does the Bible have to say about scatological language (I mean actually about scatological language, not something else that we are crossing over to address it)? Is it biblical to list out words that are for use and words that aren’t? Who is the final arbiter on what language is appropriate or not?
    We have to be careful here and not go beyond where the Bible does and starting to import our own opinions in as Scripture. It is one thing to call out a pastors language in his ministry, it’s another to be able to defend your position with Scripture in context. Of course, this just looks like another one in the pile of people trying to be cool by crying foul on other people’s language using goofy shock tactics, which has been a rather unconstructive venture so far, so why not add on, right?

  • Chris Miller
    June 1, 2009 (9:39 am)

    hmmm…you have challenged me. thanks.

  • Stephanie Quintana
    June 1, 2009 (9:43 am)

    Thank you so much pastor Ed for this message. It is so true how much junk comes out of our mouth. We need to definitely think before we speak and think about what we are portraying to people that we encounter everyday with our words. Thank you Thank you Thank you !

  • Michael Workman
    June 1, 2009 (9:50 am)

    I am not a pastor. I do work with my church in in the music ministry, but am just one of the spokes in the wheel. However, your “Cussing Pastor” video hit home. Words of wisdom not just for pastors, but for all that are in positions of responsibility. Hey, I have a 5-year-old who listens to every word I say. I do not use vulgarity much – at least not what I might have when I was 20 years younger. But, if a “damn” comes out of my mouth, my child hears it. And he repeats.
    If we want to carry our faith outside of our family and our church, one’s choice of words is a reflection of who he is inside. If we are trying to show others that we strive to be like Jesus – even those of us not in the ministry – we likely fail the test of our observers. Who was it that said that more people would want to be Christians – if it weren’t for Christians.

  • Zack
    June 1, 2009 (10:00 am)

    You know what would have been hilarious, is if someone cut you off during the video and you cussed at them, and then went right back to the video about not cussing like nothing even happened.
    Ok. Maybe not so much…
    Good words, pastor.

  • Jonathan Howes
    June 1, 2009 (10:07 am)

    I could not agree more!
    Jonathan Howes
    Pastor of Graystone Church

  • natalie noblitt
    June 1, 2009 (10:09 am)

    very encouraged by this! thanks — i totally agree- dirty words coming out of a pastors mouth falls so bitter on my heart and ears!

  • Ray St.Germain
    June 1, 2009 (10:13 am)

    Once again, spot on and a good reminder for me as I proclaim my Christianity at work. Those seeking God will always look at me to be different from those that are not a child of God.

  • Chuck Barrineau
    June 1, 2009 (10:28 am)

    Pastor Ed,
    I am a young pastor and very much appreciate the wisdom that was shared in this video. When we see other “cool” pastors who are using this kind of language and their churches are exploding this becomes a temptation for us as well. Thank you for sharing your heart and bringing young pastors, like myself, back into line. This was much appreciated.

  • RV
    June 1, 2009 (10:30 am)

    Thanks Ed,
    I have so many friends who have moved over to trying to relate to the world so much that there is no distinction. You are so right that the Gospel is so countercultural that it speaks for itself. I am so definitely not a prude but see blogs of young leaders that stretch me with their language. Thanks for saying what many of us feel. Well done!

  • Hector Herrera
    June 1, 2009 (10:33 am)

    Thanks for the encouragement Pastor Ed. Your video really hit home to me because it is very discouraging when you hear leaders and ministers using foul language. I understand that no man is perfect and I am also guilty of using this type of language but I try my best everyday not to. “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.”

  • Bob Steinkamp
    June 1, 2009 (10:33 am)

    Amen! Finally someone is taking on the sacred cow of pastors attempting to be relevant with trash talk. I am weary of pastors who attempt to see how much like the world they can be. Scripture cautions against that.

  • Jennifer Howes
    June 1, 2009 (10:36 am)

    Thank you for the post. I recently attended a church conference where the pastor used the very words (and more) that you spoke about in your video blog. I am a pastor’s wife and we brought several of our church leaders to the conference. I felt like the message that was shared was ruined because of the vulgarities used and I was embarrassed that I invited friends to the conference. I appreciate your straight talk and hope that the thousands of leaders and future leaders that were at that conference hear your video.

  • Dawn in Texas
    June 1, 2009 (10:53 am)

    Thanks for the reminder to think before we speak, honestly I think a lot of it for me, is just “bad habit” and I should truly try to change that! thanks again.

  • Sandra G. Ervin
    June 1, 2009 (11:17 am)

    You are so right. Our younger generation use bad language to describe every emother. I am saddened by the ugly language used every day. I feel like saying “Your vocabulary needs assistance.” If you can’t think if positive ways to express yourself, kiip quite. Political Correctness is the devil’s workship, in my opinion. Thanks Ed. I like your ride. Sandra Ervin

  • Greg Horton
    June 1, 2009 (11:20 am)

    someone said it above, but i think i have started rationalizing words that i say like “screwed” just because i have heard it said on stage, and believe it should be ok then. The problem with that – is I am the one who has to answer to the stumbling blocks in the end, not the person on the stage. I’m responsible for making that choice to use those words and not someone else in a pastoral or any other position in the church. Just because the preacher says it, doesn’t make it right.

  • LK
    June 1, 2009 (11:24 am)

    I am so thankful that you are addressing this problem of using gutter language as we talk in and out of the Church. Jesus said we are to be salt and light as His people and Eph.4:29-31 is also pretty plain about it. Thanks again for your reminder.

  • Royal Farris
    June 1, 2009 (11:31 am)

    Since language or use of words is a cultural-social issue…the receiver determines the level of offensiveness rather than the giver. Being prideful in defending our language does not make it less offensive. I was in England when I was 14. The F-bomb was a regular part of the English conversation. I said cr__ once and was informed with anger that I had offended. I could have defended my use of a word we used in America as much as they used the F-bomb….I still would have had the cr__ beat out of me….

  • Jimmie Allan
    June 1, 2009 (11:35 am)

    Great message, after all Ephesians 4:29 tells us to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. In my life, I have attended mostly traditional churches where this type of language would never be used. Two months ago, I would have agreed with you 100%, but now I would say I agree 95%.
    I have been listening to two podcasts lately, one pastor in New Jersey and one in Washington. I have heard both use some “more colorful” language. New Jersey said something about being screwed and during a sermon on finances asked if you had “pissed your money away.” Washigton said in response to “Do you really believe in Hell?”…”hell, yes.”
    Was this language necessary? Probably not; however, sometimes you need to be more emphatic. For example, which comes across stronger…”Do you really believe in Hell? Yes.” or “Do you really believe in Hell? HELL YES!”?
    Ephesians 4:29 also says to use language that “is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Did this language benefit those who were listening? I think it did. Was it absolutely necessary? Maybe not, but it definitely got the message across.

  • Chris Kratzer
    June 1, 2009 (11:45 am)

    Non-Christians are often asking one foundational question of Christians (especially ministry professionals)… would becoming more like you be an upgrade or downgrade in my life? Language like you described Ed gives the non-believer a quick answer, “not.”

  • Mike Harkins
    June 1, 2009 (12:27 pm)

    You stepped on a lot of toes with this. I know I’m guilty of this too. Thanks for your wisdom. Love you guys. Harkins

  • Kevin
    June 1, 2009 (1:12 pm)

    Okay… 16 comments into this and I guess I’m going to be the first to disagree… not fully… but a little.
    I total agree that we represent a greater message and that we should what what we say and that we should do get some creativity in our language…
    Where I would disagree is the comment that pastors are doing this type of talking so that they can be cool (or at least be preceived as cool by people around them). I do have the habit of using “sucks” in my messages… but this is really just coming out of the cultural context that I live in and not out of a desire to be “cool”. Trust me, I am SOOOOOO not cool (my Star Wars figure and comic book collection will agree on that).
    I haven’t been to church my whole life. I came to Christ at 27 with no church background and now, 10 years later, I’m serving as a pastor of a small church plant. When I talk or preach… I’m just me. I try to make sure what I say doesn’t offend or hinder anyone. But, well, being a passionate French Canadian living in Ontario who wants to see more and more people come to Christ, I’m not always perfect and the occasional cultural-context word will slip in there 🙂
    Anyways, all this say that I agree that we should watch our tongues… I just don’t agree with you that every pastor that talks that way is trying to be cool.

  • Joseph
    June 1, 2009 (1:28 pm)

    One of the greatest humbling moments of my life was when a dear friend of mine told me that my language and my humor was offensive to some people and taken out of context more than I realized. From that day forward I made an everyday effort to clean up my act and God has helped me do so in amazing ways. What we say and how we say it, no matter how much of it is in a “joking” term or “off the cuff,” has tremendous influence in those around us. I see it in parents with their children, I see it at my job, and I especially see it now that God brought it to my attention. One of my favorite verses and one that rings so true is one I first picked up from “3:10 To Yuma:”
    Proverbs 13:3= He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

  • David McLain
    June 1, 2009 (1:48 pm)

    Ed, your point is good if your assumptions are true: that people use these words because they want to be cool. I don’t think that’s the primary reason young people – and young preachers – use the vocabulary: the assumption is incorrect, and therefore the conclusion is incorrect.
    Yeah, we need to be a people of holiness. But we don’t need to become a new breed of pharisees: prohibiting what the Bible does not prohibit, because it might be skirting too close to something that the Bible DOES prohibit.

  • Brenna
    June 1, 2009 (1:53 pm)

    I think you have a good point Ed, and we are all guilty at some time or another. Sometimes our humor gets us into trouble. I will say this…if God and I were face to face in a conversation I know I wouldn’t be using some of those words!! God cares about the words we say…and so should we!

  • Collin
    June 1, 2009 (1:54 pm)

    Wonderful video… exactly what needed to be said!
    When I was in high school, I went to a Bible Study that one of the coaches led. In his talk, he cussed multiple times and then asked to be pardoned for his “french”. I couldn’t believe what he was saying! This coach was setting a bar, an expectation for how a Christ-follower should act, and all I could think about were the new believers who were listening to him and who would go away thinking that that is the “bar” they should aim for.
    Obviously we will never be perfect here on Earth and our outward reflection of Christ will always be flawed because of our fallen nature, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t aim for the expectations–the “bar”–that Christ has called us to aim for!
    Foul language may be defined subjectively in the world’s eyes but, as Christians, we are to be examples for the world (especially to young believers) and the words that come from our mouths can have a huge impact on the example we set! The Bible is actually quite clear on watching what we say (Ephesians 4:29-31).
    One could argue that we have freedom in Christ; while this is true, we “must be careful so that [our] freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble” (1 Corinthians 8:9).
    I’m so thankful that you posted this video Ed! Thanks for standing up for what you believe in!

  • hope
    June 1, 2009 (1:54 pm)

    i don’t think some people use words like you’re describing to show how “cool” they are. some do, i’m sure of that, but not all. i use some of the language you are describing. i was taught as a child that words along the lines of sucks and screwed and crap were a sin, but as i got older, i began to question that. it’s not “cool” language; it’s just the way we talk…real language. maybe some of this is cultural. i don’t know. in my area, words like those aren’t given a second thought. i don’t think we should just go around shocking people with bad language. and yeah, we need to watch what we say, but i guess i just don’t see that a lot of those slang words are so bad. just my opinion, but i have given this a lot of thought over the years. not trying to be cool, just keeping it real. but i do appreciate you taking the time to share how you feel, and i respect your opinion.

  • Martin from JAX
    June 1, 2009 (1:56 pm)

    I heard a story of a pastor who said sh*t in a sermon and after the crowd gasped and reacted negatively he told them that it’s just a word. (He did it to point out that they were more worried about what he said than the unsaved going to hell.) He then challenged them to be MORE offended at the devil for what he’s doing and to start winning souls for the kingdom !

  • Buddy Cremeans
    June 1, 2009 (2:02 pm)

    Powerful…convicting…..showing this in my staff meeting tomorrow.
    Thanks ED!
    Drive Safe!

  • question
    June 1, 2009 (2:13 pm)

    What if you use the word “poop”….is that bad ?

  • Liz Thomas
    June 1, 2009 (2:45 pm)

    Thanks for this powerful, timely message Ed. I agree with you and pray that church leaders and pastors take it to heart. I can’t imagine JESUS teaching and sharing the Gospel using common, profane and offensive language. I believe it hinders the HOLY SPIRIT’s work in the hearers lives.
    Keeping courageously proclaiming!!
    Your Sister in CHRIST,

  • ByramStudio
    June 1, 2009 (3:08 pm)

    You nailed it Ed!
    I want you to know that I use you as a tool of encouragement to those we love in our ministry program. You have such a powerful presentation and I thank you for your good heart and firm spirit in all things concerning our faith.

  • Jeff
    June 1, 2009 (3:46 pm)

    Can’t believe some here are defending this kind of speech on the basis that they’re not trying to be cool, and it’s a cultural thing instead. Leaders are called to a higher standard of living, but instead we’re reflecting normalcy in today’s culture.

  • Starr
    June 1, 2009 (4:09 pm)

    Great Topic!
    If you have to ask the question , is questionable slang language appropriate for leaders (or anyone) then there is a good chance it might be wrong.
    Ok, like I tell a lot of young people, and adults for that matter, when it comes to doing the “right thing” in your life, I always ask them to sincerely pray about it for 3 days and at the end of the third day they almost always have the answer.
    Here it is young leaders, PRAY ABOUT IT!!! And see what God has to say.

  • Garrett
    June 1, 2009 (4:17 pm)

    the fruit of the spirit comes through several outputs — the tongue is mightier than the sword and more powerful than anything man an create… With the wrong selection of workds any of us can totally destroy the spirit of a person…
    Being politically correct waters down reality — it is ironic that such words that are supposedly ‘cool’ are acceptable… Embrace what is man’s and you lose every time… Our household does not use words that can not be found in the Bible… almost…. Twitter doesn’t exist in the Bible…

  • Tim
    June 1, 2009 (4:55 pm)

    This nearly scares me. It smacks of the same sincerely sad attempts to remind people that we’re not like the bad people because we’re cleaner than them. There are no words to describe how far away from the centrality of the Gospel this is. Jesus spent time calling cussing sailors like Peter to follow Him. Peter was a disciple when he denied Christ. It was the kindness of the Lord that brought him to repentance. Though Christ was not like Peter, he remained focused on eternal things. The real concern is the lack of interest in engagement of the lost. Millions of dollars spent of ourselves in this Country will be far more important on that final day (I Cor. 3). I would spend more time understanding Galatians 2:19-21. Christianity is being reduced to churchianity. Most people will be afraid to say this, but this kind of focus feels angled at certain people. I get the point, but it truly saddens me that we are still spending time more worried about “Moralistic Deism” than true holiness. I’m not a “Cussing Pastor”, but I was lost and now I’m found. I hope that we will really re-think this approach in the future. Let’s keep Christ most central and let God work through the Holy Spirit to convict people about the motives of their heart as well as their language. Just didn’t get this at all. Sincerely. In Christ

  • Janice-Courtney
    June 1, 2009 (6:33 pm)

    Agreed! Thanks for encouraging us to live better!
    I know many Christians who use crass talk and feel it ok that they’re just words. But, according to Eph 4:29 we should be using our words to uplift and how can we be uplifting with crass words or talk?
    Ephesians 4:29
    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

  • Mike N
    June 1, 2009 (6:55 pm)


  • Michael Thurlow
    June 1, 2009 (7:04 pm)

    Well done Ed,
    Our words need to build others up and as Pastors point the way to Jesus.
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Great Blog

  • Devin Cremeans
    June 1, 2009 (8:39 pm)

    Your right on Ed! Leaders should be thoughtful, respectful, and eloquent in their language whether it’s from the podium or in the everyday.

  • Jon Purkey
    June 1, 2009 (9:40 pm)

    I can’t say how much this encouraged me. As a 31 year old Pastor I think it’s sad that a lot of the so called “New Crew” of preachers are just coming across so rude and heartless. Thank you so much for stepping on toes.

  • Donna Miles
    June 1, 2009 (9:40 pm)

    AMEN! When I tell my kid a word is wrong to use and then their teachers and youth ministers use it freely. What does that tell my kid about what is right or wrong? It’s not hard to understand why kid’s don’t respect or think their parents know anything. While your on the subject could you PLEASE tell young people that friggin is a euphanism for something else I’m sure that they aren’t meaning to say. I don’t think that they get that to them it’s an OK word.

  • Fred Smith
    June 1, 2009 (10:01 pm)

    Some people have defended the use of foul language, on the basis that “well, its just me. When I am in the pulpit, I have to be myself.”
    I cannot say strongly enough how wrong that is!! Preaching should NEVER be about just being yourself. Preaching is about representing, in the best way possible, the word of God in ways that will convince, and convict. It is not about “me” at all. In my sermons, the least important aspect is that it should “sound like me.” People don’t come to hear ME they come to worship Jesus Christ. My sermons should reflect HIM, not ME.
    We need to move away from seeing the Sermon as a form of self expression, and toward seeing it as a form of representing God as he has revealed Himself in His word. The preached word makes faith possible–faith comes by hearing–and we must be sure that the preached word truly represents the one we want people to have faith in, and no one else, not even ourselves.

  • The Bread
    June 1, 2009 (10:07 pm)

    Up to this point there have been some arguments that the unwholesome words being used are not “that” unwholesome. That the words being used are not about being cool, but rather culturaly slanted in order to reach the lost.
    I agree 100% that Jesus met with sinners that spoke in an unwholesome way when He was in their company. That doesn’t mean that Jesus Himself decided to use unwholesome language to communicate to them.
    How can you direct somone to a life change without being a vision of what that change is? I can’t tell you life as a dog is wonderful if I myself am not a dog. I CAN tell you that life as a dog looks wonderful by the way it appears.
    I can not tell everyone what the result of life change is if I myself am not a vision of life change. No I am not saying that I am perfect or without flaws. But I cannot speak of what Paul says in Ephesians if I myself am not representing what it says.
    We need to be conscious of representing what were claiming. Not looking down our noses, but rather looking at what reaches beyond our noses.

  • pastor jayadev
    June 2, 2009 (1:25 am)

    i strongly support the view of ed, because many pastors face this problem, years ago, i had a pastor friend who use particular phrase which makes every one annoyed ,it took long time for the young preach to get adjusted,
    It makes everyone of us who are in leadership to be careful in what we speak and do in private and public .
    thanks ed, keep it up

  • rakieda
    June 2, 2009 (8:02 am)

    cool, I think you’re completely right. Young people, including myself don’t take the time out to think about their articulation precisely and we should now that we have seen this video…Thanks!

  • gregsur
    June 2, 2009 (8:13 am)

    Right on Ed.
    Thanks for tackling this. Good stewardship of influence.
    (By the way…still can’t the image of skinny jeans and pink jacket from ARC out of my mind 🙂

  • Q.
    June 2, 2009 (8:24 am)

    Good thoughts Pastor Ed. I’m also confused as to why people feel they ‘have’ to use certain language. That being said, I have to say that I have a hard time thinking that ‘sucks’ and ‘crap’ are bad words… Maybe even ‘screwed’. I wasn’t raised to think they were bad words… It’s kinda like saying, “I was a jerk today, sorry”; someone could totally say, “Well, you said ‘jerk’ but you meant ‘a*s’ so you’re just using a substitutionary word” when in fact, you really did mean ‘jerk’. I’m not trying to split hairs here, I’m just wondering if some of the pastors in question might not agree that this is foul language… I do see that it is broadly attested that some words are deemed ‘curse’ words but there are others that aren’t quite in that area. I know that some of the pastors in question aren’t saying “crap” they’re saying actual widely accepted ‘curse’ words and that is an issue. I guess the thought is when in doubt, don’t…

  • Sean
    June 2, 2009 (8:25 am)

    Thank you so much for not being a groupie. For telling the leaders of the body of Christ what we need to hear and not just what we want to hear.
    Before I was saved I was in the military. I think there is an unofficial portion of boot camp that teaches you to be a professional cuss-er. Trust me I was probably at the top of my class. You learn to string colorful adjectives together and use them to describe every situation from extreme anger to extreme happiness and every part in between. But when I got saved, I stopped talking that way. I was beginning to think I was being over sensitive to what I hear some preachers say. Kind of like the ex-smoker mentality. No one is more sensitive to smoke than an ex-smoker.
    I am not going to try to “discern” motive here but simply say… What comes out in public is a mirror of what we do in private. These people who talk that way in their sermons (or the new buzz word “talk”) probably means they talk that way in private. So the remedy is to not just stop christian cussing in our messages, but stop it period then you will never have to worry about slipping.
    Ed keep doing what you are doing, lead and set the example.

  • Michael Buckingham
    June 2, 2009 (8:59 am)

    Hmmm…I’m not sure. Sucks and crap? I mean sure I wouldn’t hear it from a nun, but to lump it in with cursing? I don’t know.
    Sometimes something does suck…it’s just a term and better than saying “that looks like $&*%#
    I do find it interesting that you started off using those words to then tell us not to…and it was effective. Maybe sometimes, used appropriately, words with some edge can be appropriate?

  • Melissa Fitzpatrick
    June 2, 2009 (10:05 am)

    This blog pierced my heart and spoke to me in countless ways. Thank you.

  • Darilyn Christenbury
    June 2, 2009 (10:08 am)

    ….but set an example for the believers in speech…

  • tj
    June 2, 2009 (10:14 am)

    Wasn’t the difference between Aramaic and Hebrew kinda the same thing…. Maybe we should have asked Jesus to step it up and be more creative to speak Hebrew. A more righteous language…

  • Jimmy Smith
    June 2, 2009 (10:16 am)

    THANK THANK THANK YOU for saying this!!! I consult young worship leaders everyday who feel compelled to speak the slang of the day. I’m cool with speaking the LANGUAGE of our communities, but not the SLANG.

  • John Ireland
    June 2, 2009 (10:21 am)

    well said, Ed. very encouraging to hear this from you given the “voice” you have to other teaching pastors.
    be well!

  • Paul
    June 2, 2009 (10:22 am)

    I think we’ve got to be careful not to confuse middle class values with Christ like values. Common men use common terms when speaking to common people, we are called to be transformed in the image of Christ not middle class white collaredness.
    If a pastor is using common terms for cool points then that’s weak. People need to be real to communicate effectively.

  • Brian (Portland, OR)
    June 2, 2009 (10:23 am)

    First time on this blog (where have I been?) and I’m so glad to see “culturally relevant” pastors such as Ed take a stand like this. I think a few aspiring “relevant” pastors jaws hit the ground while they watched this.
    That said…I’m guilty. I don’t consider my language “profane” but perhaps “sloppy” and this is a great reminder from a respectable person to clean it up.
    Thanks Ed.

  • Rebecca
    June 2, 2009 (10:31 am)

    I was going to defend the toilet talk because I myself am guilty of it… not in the pulpit, but on the streets and in my home. I was composing my thoughts in my head when I asked myself, “Why? Why don’t I think it’s okay to use this language in the pulpit?” And this scripture flooded my senses. James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” That pretty much sums it up. When I get off line I am going to have to ask God for help because truthfully…. This kind of language is as common for me to use as the conjunctions “and, but, & or”.
    Thank you for giving me reason to pause.

  • Jesse Phillips
    June 2, 2009 (10:37 am)

    totally disagree! but I think you make a good point. I don’t think using that kind of language is any kind of barrier to communicating the gospel. IN FACT, I think not using that kind of language and making a big deal that you don’t, is actually creating the wall.
    I used to work at a movie theatre. And this girl was very religious. And my co-workers would always cuss around her, and then say “oh, sorry” and they’d talk differently around her – to sort-of respect her. Did she have any influence on their lives? No, the opposite, she had no influence, b/c they were walking on broken glass around her.
    I don’t think saying sucks, screwed, hell is wrong – b/c it’s not wrong to anyone really, it’s just regular communication in our American culture, not looked down on at all.
    Honestly, we have much more important issues to be tackling than bad words. Otherwise I think we are in danger of “straining out a gnat, but swallowing a camel.”

  • JC
    June 2, 2009 (10:44 am)

    Well, that was convicting.
    I think Ed is right on when it comes to wanting to be culturally-relevant. The thing is, that it’s most likely not even a conscious decision to be culturally-relevant or cool. Our culture has so seeped inside of us, we just use language just like the culture without even thinking about it. I believe that’s what Ed is trying to get across. THINK before you speak. The life worth of the gospel (Phil. 1:27) entails doing life completely different from our surrounding culture. I’m taking away from this the need to THINK before I speak. Don’t just use the cultural idioms without questioning their utility. “Everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial”.
    Amen Ed.

  • Jeff
    June 2, 2009 (10:47 am)

    Ed I mostly agree, but where do you think the young pastors learned this? If you asked them who they learn from they are probably older pastors that use the same language.
    However sometimes things just suck and the only other descriptors I can think of are worse. I do not think everyone is trying to be cool, maybe they are just trying to be authentic.
    I actually have a deeper concern that pastors are not using inclusive language (lame, retarded, etc).

  • Adam S
    June 2, 2009 (10:47 am)

    I can agree with part of what you are saying. We should be cognizant of our words. But you also seem to be indicating that we need to be speaking above a common language. Because many of the words that you started with just express frustration (not curses as the bible defines them). We need a language of frustration, if we take out all of our language of frustration then we are not communicating the whole gospel. We are called to be frustrated with the world and with situations of injustice. Jesus used some strong language. “Brood of Vipers” is not an encouraging phrase.
    So I agree that we should be appropriate to the situation, and I agree that cursing is often a lowest common denominator use of words and that we usually can better communicate by using better more specific words.
    But if we inoculate all words of frustration out of our language then that doesn’t show how much better we are, it just shows how fake we have become.

  • Judy
    June 2, 2009 (10:47 am)

    Gusty there….loved it…my remedy…remember who you are, whose you are…and where (pulpit,awesome place) you are…good stuff

  • Carlo
    June 2, 2009 (10:50 am)

    If this is such a cutting-edge thought and something that “needs to be said”…then why have we not heard this from anyone else? I believe it’s because some of the biggest “amen” folks are just as guilty of not watching their speech. Where is the line between “sucks and stinks”, “dang” and “darn”, “pissed off” and “ticked off”? I applaud Ed for being real and being a man of conviction. I just don’t want his great point to be reduced to a set of “good words” vs. “bad words”.

  • Jody Earley
    June 2, 2009 (10:51 am)

    What’s your thoughts on words like: shoot, dang, and gosh?

  • JonWesley Barnhill
    June 2, 2009 (10:52 am)

    Thanks for the post.
    I, too, believe that we as leaders should hold ourselves, and be held to a higher standard. I like what the one commenter said about being the example of the change Christ has wrought. (I always loved that word in the old hymns!) 😉 It’s not even about biblical words versus worldly words; it’s personal holiness, and the understanding that I do what I do, and I don’t do what I don’t do because of who I am, and Whose I am; e.g. a child of God lives THIS way in the world.
    Just sayin’.

  • Dennis
    June 2, 2009 (10:55 am)

    Good post…at times, hard to live out. Certainly, we are to be set apart. Paul was “all things to all men so he might save some.” I’ll bet he didn’t compromise his testimony with “stuff” (either verbal or actions) – but at the same time was genuine. I think that is what made him both approachable and confusing…forced people to make a decision.

  • Beverly Brown
    June 2, 2009 (11:13 am)

    This post made me think about a sign I see at a meeting I regularly attend: “The absence of profanity offends no one.”

  • Evan Courtney
    June 2, 2009 (11:16 am)

    This is a homerun.
    You are the father figure for youth leaders.
    Continue to correct and encourage us.

  • anne jackson
    June 2, 2009 (11:18 am)

    I blogged about this before blogging was cool, a few years ago and the comments that followed were SO varied in opinion.

  • Jeremy Keegan
    June 2, 2009 (11:25 am)

    Ed – agreed. Here are my thoughts: I think pastors can be entirely relevant and as cool as they want to be (to the perceived satisfaction of their audience if that’s important) without using language like crap. I use the word Crap EVERY DAY. But I don’t use it when I preach. It’s NOT an attempt to be better or different than anyone or to be some kind of poser. It comes from a respect I have for the Gospel. I know that I am in this world, and I am affected by it, and the Gospel is in me at the same time, but I won’t mix the Gospel message with the message of this world and so dilute it. I guess for me, I have never preached a message or had a conversation with anyone in which I felt like I had to use certain language in order to effectively communicate the message. Is it necessary just because it is vernacular?

  • Ben of BenandJacq
    June 2, 2009 (11:27 am)

    Well, I think context is key. I really appreciate your thoughts, but I think that sometimes (and those times are admittedly more rare than the occasions I use them to justify) even the writers of scripture used scatological humor. Paul told people to emasculate themselves. That’s graphic in any culture. He also called all of his good works a pile of dung (and, as I understand it, ‘dung’ is not nearly a strong enough translation).
    So sometimes even pastors must use language that clearly gets across their point. And all of my pharisaical good works are a steamring pile of *%&$.

  • MM
    June 2, 2009 (11:40 am)

    are you serious?

  • House of Dexter
    June 2, 2009 (11:41 am)

    I think we can all agree that there are words that you don’t want children saying around their elders..I remember when my oldest at the time was 2 years old…and was hitting one of her toys with a play hammer and saying “Damn” over and over again…It made me cognitive of what I do and what I say around her and others…
    -Rick Peterson

  • Justin Wallace
    June 2, 2009 (11:46 am)

    My question is this: Who gets to choose the words that are healthy and the words that are not healthy?
    You’re walking a thin line when you start having that conversation.
    I honestly don’t think it’s the words that are un-healthy…I think it’s the heart that our words flow from. I can use “creative language” and still be un-healthy in the things and ways I’m communicating. I can curse someone without even using your traditional curse words.
    So, it’s not the words, it’s the heart.
    And I agree with one commenter that said that some pastors aren’t trying to be cool they are in fact being transparent and honest.

  • Frank Honess
    June 2, 2009 (12:04 pm)

    I’m not saying that we should be throwing around the f-bomb and other filthy language, but I think we’re going a little far when words like “crap” and “sucks” is now considered a cuss word. I think we should let the Word of God stand for itself when it talks about abstaining from filthy language & words that are godly. We should then allow each believer to decide how he or she needs to deal with his or her own behavior.
    Secondly, it’s a little ironic that Ed is talking about how unwise and unhealthy it is to cuss, but what about recording a video while your driving? Is that any more wise to do? Sorry, I’m not trying to be a stickler, but I was confronted on this before and the person really helped me to see how unsafe & unwise it is, plus the message that it communicates to people watching: It’s ok to be distracted while you are driving, thus risking your life and the lives of others.
    Just my two cents on the issue…

  • Amanda
    June 2, 2009 (12:18 pm)

    I very much disagree. The only reason I would agree with what you’re saying is the Bible says to not use profanity. It doesn’t say to not use slang. As a young person, I honestly don’t consider half of those words you used make you a “cussing pastor,” maybe I’ve become habituated. But as a leader, I would not want to cause someone else to believe they can cuss because they think something I said was a cuss word, even though I don’t think it is. It’s all a matter of people’s perceptions of the meaning of the word. And because it’s a matter of someone else’s perspective, not mine, I will try harder to choose my words better.

  • Britt Sipe
    June 2, 2009 (12:20 pm)

    Hey Ed,
    Our worship pastor found this clip – great find! I’m a part-timer at my church in Temecula California (full time firefighter) and have “struggled” with profanity on occasion over the years. I’m teaching a series beginning Father’s Day called WURDZ – first title is “Swear Jar” We’ll be having an honest conversation about Christians with a potty mouth. Thanks for daring to call us out on that – you bolstered my courage to deal with it authentically.

  • Steve Ray
    June 2, 2009 (12:20 pm)

    THANK YOU ED YOUNG! I have felt like an old fuddy-duddy (I’m only 47!) because I can’t understand why these young believers think it’s ok to talk (or blog/twitter) this way. Thank you for giving voice to one of my frustrations!

  • Rachel
    June 2, 2009 (12:31 pm)

    I was prideful enough when I first heard you say some of those words that I was actually thinking, “I don’t say THOSE words”. Then the Holy Spirit so quietly whispered to me – think about that some more, because you do say those words. I was convicted right here watching this video! I say “crap” and “sucks” etc but never thought about it this way until now. And I love the Lord, I’m living the life of a true Believer yet I am guilty of this. I love how God opens our eyes to these things, a little at a time and oh so gently. He is so sweet, what an awesome God we serve!! Thanks for the blog entry!

  • Elizabetrh
    June 2, 2009 (12:35 pm)

    hmmm….screwed/sucks/stinks/dang/darn…not quite sure they have the same punch that hell, damn, sh**, f***, etc have. And I certainly wouldn’t lump them in with filthy language. If you say, “man, that stinks, I’m sorry.” are you, then, saying that person is guilty of using filthy language? I completely disagree.
    This is a very subjective argument here. As for the post above regarding James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. – saying the word “sucks” or “stinks” has nothing to do with that verse. You aren’t cursing another person by saying the word, “sucks” or “stinks”. I think we have bigger fish to fry than to argue about what constitutes as filthy language. Yours and others salvation is not going to depend on whether or not you said the word “sucks.”

  • Bethany Allen
    June 2, 2009 (12:37 pm)

    Hi Ed,
    I’ve walked through some different beliefs on this issue. I think what I’ve settled on is a belief that comes from the scripture that teaches that all things are permissible but not everything is beneficial. I do not think it is a sin (in and of itself) to use certain words but we are called as believers, and especially as leaders, to be extremely careful lest we use our freedom to hinder others. In light of this, I agree fully with your teaching on not using curse words. I think out of love for others…including young believers and those who are seeking the Lord…we should be creative with our language and also pure with it. I like your point that the gospel is offensive enough without use of cursing. How true that is. Anyways, that’s my two cents…thanks for the post!!

  • Sean
    June 2, 2009 (12:48 pm)

    I have read a lot of the comments and it comes down to one thing for me. What would we be comfortable saying if Jesus was standing right in front of us? I would be willing to bet that we wouldn’t be so slack with the use of those slang words. I know that when using them myself I do feel that check in my spirit. Thanks Ed for the keeping it real.

  • Zach Cross
    June 2, 2009 (12:51 pm)

    I think pastors/leaders nowadays are held and viewed as above everybody else but the truth is that we are the same as everyone else; we are sinners. I agree that leaders should be held accountable as well as to a higher standard and there are times when cussing is a serious problem and should not be tolerated. The truth be told, when I hear a pastor/leader cuss, I don’t think any less of them but, in fact, I think more of them because I see a side of them that is honest and humane. I see their humanity and not just their position. I think an aspect of humanity is sorely missed in today’s effective ministries.

  • LeAnna Martin
    June 2, 2009 (1:24 pm)

    As Christians and even moreso as Christian leaders, I agree that we accoutable for our words. However, I would love to know how you define and categorize “cuss” words. Several of the ones you mentioned are not considered cuss words by many if not most people, both Christians and non-Christians alike. I’m not defending the use of those words, but I think if you start grouping them in with the more obvious words, you are on a slippery slope and begin straining the gnat so to speak.

  • Ryan May
    June 2, 2009 (1:29 pm)

    Pastor Ed… appreciate your thoughts. I’m a young pastor heading a new church plant – 2 years ago (prior to planting the church) I delivered a message similar to the one you mentioned. My wife was in the audience and when we got home – she let me have it! She even made me go back, watch the message, and count ’em… 17 sucks, screwed, crap statements in 30 minutes!!
    I worked diligently to erase this words from my vocabulary and now as I deliver a weekly message of hope to a steadily growing congregation, I can’t help but think God’s conviction (through my wife) was one of the best things to ever happen to my speaking ministry.
    Good word. Thanks for standing on strong principles!

  • Jeremy
    June 2, 2009 (1:36 pm)

    I’ve got to say that I’m not always the biggest Ed Young fan out there, but this video really hit home as I recognize a lot of myself in what he was saying.
    For those who want to argue about sucks or screwed not being vulgar or curse words, do a little research into the origins of those two and you will most likely come to a different conclusion. Just because we use them out of indifference or ignorance doesn’t change the meaning.

  • Lyle
    June 2, 2009 (1:46 pm)

    I agree that “words” or “the intention of words” have an incredible effect on people especially in regard to pastor’s and their gospel presentations. The Bible is clear on matters of the tongue for sure.
    However, to say that young leaders or pastors are being “cool” by saying words like “this sucks” and “i’m screwed” doesn’t really make sense to me. I don’t think saying that “this sucks” is being “cool” I think it is just honest communication.
    Sure, you shouldn’t use certain words in certain contexts given societal norms and word connotations that come with certain words BUT we also need to be careful that we don’t censor our communication with the hope of portraying a false idea of Christianity that just isn’t mentioned in Scripture.
    Our words should build up and our words should proclaim the Gospel but to say that there are definite sets of words that we can and can’t use makes me pretty uncomfortable. To me it makes the Gospel and our response to it seem a little light hearted. A little too clean and “white bread”.
    I just think that there are so many more things that we do within the local church to try to be “cool” that are much more offensive and much more appropriate to attack beyond using words like “crap” and “damn”.
    And If saying “Hell” makes me cool then consider me Miles Davis 😉
    Just my thoughts.
    Good day folks 🙂

  • Kathleen Henriques-Brown
    June 2, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    None of those words offended me, which leads me to wonder is it about what’s culturally acceptable? Then again there are words that I think are universally considered as filthy language, such as the f-word, which in some settings (eg amongst non-Christians at a bar for instance) would be culturally acceptable in that setting, yet I would be offended. So maybe to validate the use of words according to whether it’s culturally acceptable or not doesn’t work, hmm… I think you would just need to be authentic in how you express yourself, but wise in recognizing your effect on your listening audience.
    What I would find offensive would be preaching which uses words to suppress believers into a life of legalism instead of the liberty of Jesus Christ; that uses words which are not life giving; or through much vain words bamboozles the naive to believe salvation is much more complex than it really is, adding hurdles for them to overcome in order to attain levels of righteousness – that would offend me.

  • Chris
    June 2, 2009 (4:25 pm)

    Put Some Soap In Yo Mouth
    Great stuff. I love reading through the comments…especially the ones from those defending their personal perspectives. Isn’t the old saying, if you tell a lie long enough it becomes truth? For those old enough to have experienced this, the simple truth is, if you used those words…
    Yo momma woulda washed yo mouth out with vinegar or let you taste da soap bar for a few minutes!
    As times change or “culture” as some would say, remember that as society progresses there is often more of a digressive movement away from the biblical moral standard. So next time you spit out some verbage remember to think about that soap bar.
    Good words Pastor

  • Ben Hammond
    June 2, 2009 (7:06 pm)

    I completely agree with Lyle just a few comments below. I firmly believe that, for the most part, the only people who would really be offended by a pastor using those words would be other Christians. And the only times that non-Christians would be offended would be because they think that the pastor is being hypocritical, but that wouldn’t be because of what the Bible said. It would be because Christians have convinced so many people that they believe it’s wrong to use those words, or because many of the older non-Christians grew up learning that they were bad.
    Also, I don’t think a young pastor who uses those words is intentionally trying to be cool by using those words either. There may be some, but it’s wrong to draw broad, sweeping, generalizations.
    Paul used harsh language, Isaiah used harsh language, Luther had a foul mouth, and St. Augustine said that the church was a Wore (and followed by saying, “but she is our mother and we need her”). But these don’t even make a difference, because many of these words are simply cultural… beyond just trying to be relevant. Trying to push these away is simply trying to freeze the way Christianity was practiced several decades ago/a century ago.
    Not saying all words are fine without using your brain, but one of our tasks as Christians is to continuously re-evaluating and re-discerning what “now” fits into what we know is right. The message doesn’t change, God doesn’t change, but language DOES change. So sometimes we must change the language in order to retain the meaning.
    My question: We’ve got to clean up what?

  • Aaron
    June 2, 2009 (7:58 pm)

    Look I’m a Student Pastor. I have been a pastor for about 10yrs. I say some of the words Pastor Young said in my message to my students. I have to say it checked me and I need to confess th them, like I did to God, that it is not right. Thank you Pastor Young for teaching the next generation. And new and young leaders always have an open ear and be open to mentorship from wise leaders. To all be blessed

  • Kevin Leffingwell
    June 2, 2009 (10:25 pm)

    Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
    Now, is “screwed” corrupt? Does it edify? Does it impart grace? What does the word “screwed” substitute for. It clearly is a watered down version of the notorious “f” word, which is a vulgar expression of sexual intercourse. So, if “screw” is a synonym of the “f” word, how is this NOT corrupt, how does it impart grace? We are to all tings to the glory of God…did he say “screwed” to the glory of God?
    Be careful, those who claim they do not want to “complicate” salvation – Jude 4 mentions turning God’s grace into lewdness. Who cares what is acceptable in culture – our culture drinks down wickedness like it is nectar. Quit looking to culture and look to Scripture.

  • Hesterly Danny
    June 2, 2009 (11:31 pm)

    After reading some of the comments I’m a bit puzzled…so as long as a believer cusses (which i’m hearing what might be a cuss word for you may not be for me… subjective talk) or uses inappropriate language with all the integrity, authenticity, realness, what have you… then their witness to others won’t be affected because they’re being real. Come on now! I agree that you’re not going to find a list of “cuss” words in the Bible, but if using inappropriate language to spread the gospel makes a person culturally relevant then what’s the point of being set a part. The bottom line is those who follow Christ are to be different in both word and deed. I’m with you on this Ed. Your post made me think about the words I use to spread the Love of Christ.

  • Donna Newton
    June 3, 2009 (12:03 am)

    I am 62 years old. When my son was a teen and my daughters were pre-teens we were dropping off a letter into a drive by mail box. I drove too close and scraped the car and began usng explectives. My son said, “Good language, Mom.” I began to ponder why I resorted to this language. When I asked the Lord why I did it the first thought was, “It gives you a false sense of power.” FWIW

  • Mike Kendall
    June 3, 2009 (8:29 am)

    This opens up a debate on what are curse words and what isn’t? There will certainly be different opinions based on many factors.
    I agree that there doesn’t need to be cursing in a message. But I don’t think sucks is a curse word. If you say “sucks” or “screwed” in the right context there is nothing wrong with it. For example if I am preaching to a group of youth that are non believers I might use those words to describe something, they will identify with that. I wouldn’t use cuss words. But if I was preaching to a group of adults I might change my language so they could identify. I might use the word “stinks” instead of “sucks”. Would that be wrong? I don’t think so and I don’t think it would be trying to be cool in either context. Isn’t that what Paul did in his travels? He wasn’t trying to be cool, but was being relevant and real to identify with the different cultures and without being sinful. I think it’s a heart matter. How is the word being used? To desribe something very real or in a sinful manner? And to the person who said “would you use those words if Jesus were standing with you?” YES I would if it were me being real. When I pray to Jesus I don’t use “fake, big, trying to be smart” Christian words. I use real words that express how I really feel. If my day sucks and I need His help I am going to get on my knees and say, “Lord my day sucks, I need you!” I think Jesus would want us to be real and honest with him, not fake. There is too much of that in the church now anyway.
    Furthermore Paul might say this is all “rubbish” don’t ya think?!

  • Jeff Pruitt
    June 3, 2009 (9:42 am)

    Bro You are awesome! I’m a pastor in Wisconsin.I was on twitter this morning and saw your link! When I watched the video I was taken back by your foul language lol! What was crazy is that I’ve used some of those words recently (teenage son) and didn’t think much about it until I heard “Pastor Ed Young” say them…then I was mortified! Pretty convicted! You’ve opened up a can of worms and I love it! Keep us on our toes!

  • Me
    June 3, 2009 (11:52 am)

    I understand that the Bible encourages us to avoid unwholesome talk. But how do you define unwholesome? Webster defines “sucks” as something that is objectionable or inadequate. If I watch a movie that is inadequate in my opinion, I say the movie sucked. That’s not any more unwholesome than saying the movie was not very good.
    The word cuss is merely an alteration of the word curse. And to curse, the act the Bible proscribes, is the act of invoking harm or injury to come on someone. I think we are attempting to prohibit something the Bible does not prohibit.

  • Wesley Black
    June 3, 2009 (12:02 pm)

    Yeah I agree, I’m a young pastor and seminary student and I often see my self fustrated and dropping an f*%#* bomb or a what the h$^* is going on. Inwardly the Holy Spirit convicts me that its really a lack of self-control.
    However I think at times it’s fitting as it, there is a lot of phoniness in American Christianity. We keep our game faces on so much, we take it out on our spouses or children. I’m not saying its right, but people need environments where they can express themselves, and if you’re in an environment that suggests, keep it together, how do you express your honest condition. Brokeness is a reality, and even real amongst pastors, but if there is no outlet to handle your brokeness than you carry that until your tongue cannot be tamed anymore.

  • Andy
    June 3, 2009 (1:18 pm)

    Timely, as I just this morning caught myself once again pausing singing along with my praise and worship music in the car to verbally berate the people around me.

  • Loree C.
    June 3, 2009 (2:16 pm)

    I think you’re right, but I never thought of “sucks” and “screwed” as bad words or filthy language before. I guess if they are even questionable then we probably would be better off not even saying them.

  • Drew
    June 3, 2009 (2:34 pm)

    It’s not about adding an 11th Commandment. As many have stated, there are way too many factors involved. And of course, as Christians, we are called to live not by the letter of the Law, but by the law of the Spirit.
    Though it is not a matter of creating rules, it is a matter of wisdom, and God loves wisdom. Wisdom is seeing things through God’s eyes. I think Ed Young does raise the point that we should all seek God’s wisdom concerning the way we talk. Words do matter. Choose them wisely.
    Plus, Christian’s pattern of speech should be different from a non-Christian’s. After all, a Christian should have a much more positive perspective on life than most non-Christians. Thus, the things they talk about should be a whole lot different.
    Yes, there may be times where certain language can help people to know that you understand where they are coming from. In other situations, sometimes some tough language is useful, and perhaps even necessary, for getting a person’s attention. (Sometimes nice does not work with addicts and people who are endangering their lives through self-destructive behaviors.) But, if you thoughtlessly use this language all the time, it will lose it’s attention-grabbing effect. Our everyday patterns of speech should be more influenced by the fact that our minds are set on heavenly things.

  • Jeff Neely
    June 3, 2009 (4:05 pm)

    Just remember that anything we say – if it can be taken in a negative or harmful way by just one person and cause them to stumble then we need to be careful. Are those words wrong? Mabye not! But are they harmful or helpful. Above reproach!! No matter if we are talking to teens, or adults. Makes no difference.

  • Karen Mayer Cunningham
    June 3, 2009 (5:25 pm)

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!! I am a stand up comic and there are no shortage of words, that bring joy and edification, and a great point and a punch line and a great close, they are available!!! Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be pleasing to you, oh Lord. Thank you for helping us to be better, different and set apart!!!!

  • Zack
    June 3, 2009 (5:28 pm)

    Hey Ed,
    From the ‘Church Marketing (Stinks)’ blog reply to your video:
    The fact is, one person’s cool is another person’s relevant. One person’s relevant is another person’s reality. One person’s reality is another person’s damnation.
    What do you think?

  • Kendall
    June 4, 2009 (7:48 am)

    Ed,Good thoughts on the words we speak. The power of life and death are in the tongue. I think it takes more creativity to find more “life giving” ways to be relevant. As Pastors we do need those who we can pass things by and allow frankness and transparency to wisely guide us.

  • Shaun Matako
    June 4, 2009 (10:29 am)

    Thanks Ed!
    I pastor a real cutting edge church in the heart of the Big Horn Basin near Yellowstone in Wyoming. Here in ‘cowboy country’ the langhuage can get pretty colorful. I have to confess that I have found myself caught up in the use of profanity from time to time. Your message reminded me that from the mouth cannot come both blessings and cursings. I’m going to take that more to heart and dare to be different! Thanks Ed. I needed that!

  • Danny
    June 4, 2009 (8:51 pm)

    I must admit, I can’t understand this. I honestly am blown away that so many leaders or lay people use this language. I knew as a lost person they were wrong. When I got saved Jesus was better than what the world had given me. Why does it seem that people want to protect their worldly language. Maybe I’m confused, I thought our lives were to be built around Jesus, not around defending our sin.

  • Brian Carlton
    June 5, 2009 (12:09 am)

    Jesus said that “out of the mouth the heart speaks”. So…when we boil it all down…it’s really a “heart” condition! Even when we use substitute words (you all know what I mean) it doesn’t change the intent of our heart. Yet we fool ourselves into believing that watering down our curse words make them less dangerous. Dropping the F-bomb will not send you to hell, but it in no way is edifying to the body of Christ. And we are called to use our words to edify and encourage. Like mama used to say…”if you don’t have nothin’ nice to say, then don’t say nothin’ at all!” That’s some good advice right there.

  • Rick Smith
    June 5, 2009 (11:29 am)

    To my cussing friends…I will make a move to stop, please join with me…
    We use words like pissed, sucks and hell to shock the world yet dull descriptions of God to describe pizza, movies and our day at the river. Amazing, awesome and excellent is the Creator, Christ our Savior.
    Guard your words.
    Wise as serpents – Harmless as doves.
    Thank you Mr. Stone and Mr. Young!

  • Donny Pauling
    June 5, 2009 (12:34 pm)

    I am not entirely sure how I got to this post. In the mornings when I catch up on articles in my google reader, “tweets”, Facebook links, etc… I just open those that look interesting in separate Firefox tabs, then work through reading them. By the time I got to this, I can no longer recall where I clicked the link. I think it was in someone else’s “tweet”.
    Now I’m rambling. How typical of me.
    I’ve been serving Jesus for almost three years. Sure, I had a Christian background (my dad was a Pastor) but for the nine years prior to “the surrender” (September 2006) I was a porn producer, hated everything about the church and had a big chip on my shoulder for all things Christian.
    A month and one week after I first surrendered my life to God (long story) I wrote a blog post about Christian “Parroting” ( ). In that post I made a list of words and phrases Christians say, yet likely don’t even know what the phrases really mean. While many of my opinions have changed over the last three years, I still think the use of “Christianese” is more damaging than the use of mild curse words – by that I mean, “Christianese” turns off more people than would a Pastor saying the word “Damn”. “Hallelujah” sounds pretty stupid when the person is just saying it to sound “Christian”. So does “God bless you, brother” when you can tell the person is just rattling something off in church without really meaning it.
    EVEN SO… I have noticed my usage of curse words (even mild ones) has drastically declined and is almost zero most of the time. That has nothing to do with wanting to “fit in” with my fellow Christians – I just don’t feel like using the language anymore. I’ve been enrolled in a Seminary program for awhile now, learning fascinating “stuff” and spending a lot of time with Jesus. I think all of that just changes the way I talk.
    But I still don’t speak Christianese. Gross.

  • Larry
    June 5, 2009 (1:23 pm)

    Thanks Pastor Ed great wisdom in your words. I think we tend to fall away from the high standard God called us to and need to be reminded and challenged to reach higher.

  • Shawn Lovejoy
    June 6, 2009 (8:33 am)

    I have NEVER agreee with you more than on this one…Can’t wait for you to share like this with church planters at our conference in February!

  • Steve Whipple
    June 6, 2009 (9:43 am)

    Good word Ed! Glad to see more people standing up on this issue. Like my mom used to always say, “If you can’t come up with any other words t express yourself, you are just showing your ignorance.”

  • Brent Diggs
    June 6, 2009 (12:47 pm)

    I think that there are two extremes that people often find themselves drawn to.
    The first is the “chasing cool” mindset critiqued in this post, where in trying to make their message relevant, good intentioned people end up saying and doing things antithetical to the very message they are trying to convey.
    However in reacting to this approach, equally well intentioned people often run to the opposite tack, where every word is filtered and scripted and double checked for any hint of impropriety or unfortunately, passion.
    The result to this approach is often a well thought-out and scripturally correct message that nobody listens to because it sounds like a marketing pitch.
    I believe there is a balance, where people can be authentic and relevant and righteous, but its going to be different for each person.
    If it were a formula or an easy answer, posts like this wouldn’t garner so may comments.
    P.S. Let’s not link profanity and bathroom humor too closely together. As a humorist I often judiciously use the second without resorting to the first.
    To imply that the biological functions we all experience are not occasionally funny or “appropriate” for a good christian to talk about is, to me, taking ourselves too seriously and coming across as fake.
    Let’s not forget Elijah’s stand off on Mt Carmel in which (in some translations) he suggests to the priests of Baal that perhaps their god cannot answer their prayers because he is off relieving himself. (1 Kings 18:27)
    Until I get a lift in a sports car of fire, I’m not going to take myself more seriously than Elijah.

  • John Cross
    June 8, 2009 (10:35 am)


  • C.A. Phillips
    June 8, 2009 (3:27 pm)

    Exactly. I don’t think that cussing was what Paul had in mind when he said he would be “all things to all people.” Unfortunately, pastors use Paul’s words to justify their behavior. “I’m just trying to relate to them,” they say. “I’m meeting them where they are.”
    Pastors – and anyone in general – who must use slang and profanity to communicate put their ignorance on display for all to see and hear.
    Great video blog. Thanks for sharing!

  • ampraises
    June 8, 2009 (10:42 pm)

    I completely agree with this. I attend a Baptist college where dirty language is used all of the time. It frustrates me to know that fellow Christians are so willing to throw their language around and not think of the impact they have on people. Using bad language is just one of the many ways that Christians are choosing to be of the world, rather than simply living in it and being a witness as God commands us.

  • Pam Sarles
    June 9, 2009 (2:56 pm)

    Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I know they truely came from God.

  • Brad Ball
    June 11, 2009 (8:36 pm)

    Great video blog. I totally agree and thanks for taking the time and the courage to address this issue.

  • Shane Jackson
    June 11, 2009 (8:38 pm)

    Amen Pastor. It’s amazing what to me what people (and pastors) will say and do to be relevant. How bout this for relevance….love? Let’s spend a little less time trying to be “cool” and a little more time showing a little love to the unloved. If you’re saying this kind of stuff, then you’re no different than the world.
    Just my thoughts.
    Beginning my life in full time ministry in two weeks. BE PRAYING!!!

  • Kelly
    June 14, 2009 (4:51 am)

    I hear a great deal of arguments that seem to be more of a defense of each individual’s behavior. I also hear judgement. I believe Mr. Young’s purpose here is for you to look inside your own heart and decide if the way you are expressing yourself is truly how you wish to be perceived. There are a wealth of words… choose the ones that fit you. Language does not have to be one size fits all!

  • Doug T
    June 14, 2009 (2:30 pm)

    You know what? If Jesus were on this earth today, he would be accused of having a potty mouth. Not trying to give us an excuse to do it, I’m just saying….
    Take a very close look at the life of Jesus on this earth. It was much less of the nancy boy that Hollyweird and, unfortunately, most churches portray him as being & much more of the passionate individual who drank partied, and yes, even cussed. Again, not trying to give us an excuse to flippantly go about like this, just sayin’….

  • Gene Wolfenbarger
    June 14, 2009 (10:02 pm)

    Praise the Living God!!!
    Truly Inspired By the Lord…
    I remember the Lord convicting me of this very thing…
    Some do Not Struggle with there PUBLIC SPEAKING but with there PRIVATE SPEAKING…
    gene wolfenbarger
    knoxville tn

  • Mrs Thea Feliciano
    June 18, 2009 (9:09 am)

    Yes Pastor ~ amen in Jesus
    Colossians 4:6-7
    Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

  • claudia finn
    June 19, 2009 (4:35 pm)

    ….. love this and totally agree. I would add that Christian visual artists are also putting out there images that lead many to question their salvation and desire to bring attention to a holy God. Just as a word cannot be taken back, a visual image leaves a mark on others minds.

  • Linda
    June 22, 2009 (3:02 pm)

    Thank you. I just heard a sermon from a pastor in Dallas that used these kind of words. It really made me wonder how can the people in his church take him seriously.
    Who is he trying to lift up, himself or Jesus??

  • Paul
    July 2, 2009 (4:26 am)

    well can you guys pray for me.. I’m Paul in Colorado.. and lately, i have had the unfortunte expierence of rejection after rejection.. and I did not handle it well, in fact I did what the devil wanted.. i gave up and got depressed and so bitter at people.. my bad language got the best of me… so I guess I’m asking for anyone to pray thet I get my reltionship with God back on track.. like it was before I got hurt.. Thank you so much
    Paul in colorado

  • Pastor Jim
    July 10, 2009 (7:44 pm)

    My basic rule of thumb
    If my mama would have slapped my mouth for saying it, I don’t say it.
    I weary of language being used for shock rather than truth being used to awaken hearts.

  • Dale Baker
    July 17, 2009 (9:50 pm)

    Thanks Pastor Ed,
    Yep, we sure have let things slip lately. Time to clean it up! to think about how dirty our tongues are. Hey, what if we all carried a cow tongue for a day? To emphasize “holding your.” I think we’d get the idea then right?

  • John Silver
    July 30, 2009 (3:05 pm)

    I disagree. Words are words. I prefer to talk to a pastor who is unpretentious and real when he is upset. I distrust people who stifle the full spectrum of language. Content is an altogether different matter. Filthy stories, tasteless jokes, things like that are unacceptable. But people who scrutinize every single word they say are hiding something. Or several somethings. It’s not an effort to “be cool” it’s an effort to be honest. I have seen young people come to Christ and live vibrant Christian lives having been lead there by an honest pastor who dared to open his heart…his REAL heart…to them.

  • John Silver
    July 30, 2009 (3:11 pm)

    This is kind of a part two to my previous post. When Paul speak os filthy language he is talking about content…not the means with which the content is delivered…words. Jesus said some very harsh cultural things. White-washed tombs, sons of the Devil, den of vipers. These were extraordinarily culturally offensive words. Much worse than damn or sucks. Paul said some have throats like open graves. Given the strict censure of phrases and words in the first and second centuries in Palestine and surrounding areas this would have been really shocking. So I strongly disagree with the assault on mild color in the English language. There are off-limits words which I won’t list here because their very meaning is filthy. Damn and sucks are not among them.

  • Randy
    August 5, 2009 (11:10 pm)

    I wonder as I watch this video for the second time, the first several weeks ago, and the second time now, after having attended opening night at Wave Conference, why a pastor would curse from the pulpit. I was shocked tonight when Ed, in front of a packed conference crowd would say that we, as Christians, should “get off out a$$.” Was it really worth it Ed? You made this pastor question how you could post such a video and then go and use the very same “cool” idea yourself?

  • Andy
    August 10, 2009 (2:46 pm)

    Randy – I’m sad that you missed the point of what Ed said at the Wave Conference. You misheard what was spoken. Ed never cussed. He simply said that Christians need to get off our “as”. Remember the Scripture he quoted just before? That’s what he was referencing. “Get off your as” is a play on words, which is much, much different that cussing.

  • Janae
    August 18, 2009 (4:42 pm)

    Great Blog!!! Amen!!!

  • Sam Duffy
    September 2, 2009 (9:04 pm)

    I really like what you are saying here Ed. I am a 21 year old girl who is in love with Christ. So, with that, I’m sure you can guess that I have a lot of growing to do STILL. BUT, i do have an opinion on this matter. If i am in a group of christians AT church, of course I’m not going to say any of those words except MAYBE sucks…and the reason for this is because i know the people i am around are not offended by that word because i’ve heard them use it before too. Now, if i am at school, i should watch my mouth then too because i never know if the stranger i sit next to is going to be offended by the words that come out of my mouth. Now, when I am with my boyfriend and close friends that i know won’t be offended by certain words, then i might chose to use them. Of course these words are not used in context such as if i say “damn” i’m not going to be saying “DAMN YOU” which i feel would be completely wrong because i’m cursing that person. I would use damn out of context and yes i’d have to agree, probably quite unnecessarily. BUT it’s the thought that counts. i do watch what i say and make sure to never cuss or offend parents, elders, leaders, strangers, new christians, non-christians etc. BECAUSE i care about how they perceive my walk with Christ. 🙂 Thanks for this blog 🙂

  • Rod Bezanson
    October 5, 2009 (9:11 am)

    Thanks for holding the standard up

  • marilyn ortiz
    May 18, 2010 (9:49 am)

    This is just what was on my heart today and I feel I found this blog for just the right reason. I know as Christians we are not perfect. I do have higher expectations of people in ministry. I pray preachers of today see that God is so simple and so precious to be shared and we Need preachers that are prepared not only with their sermons, but their hearts. God bless and thank you for sharing this blog. Marilyn from Arizona.

  • Brittany
    August 24, 2011 (8:38 am)

    You have given me something to think about

Got something to say?

Some html is OK