While arrogance and ignorance is a watchdoggie trademark, this display by Mike Ratliff is an absolute clinic. In it he references this post which sparked a discussion on the use of language.  Ratliff commented several times using the exact same arguments he uses in his post, and was answered several times.  He either ran out of time to read the response, or simply had no desire to actually process and respond to the comments he received because no where in his post does he address these counter-arguments.  But first on to the arrogance:

What are the motives for using coarse or vulgar language? There are many, but not one of them will cause a believer to edify others or glorify God.

Apparently Mike knows, not only every single instance of  the use of coarse or vulgar language, but also the motive for using coarse or vulgar language.  Of course, the actual post in question actually linked to an example of coarse or vulgar language being used to edify others and glorify God. I posted the back story on the song itself and this little bit of information was brought forth:

a few sent me private messages of appreciation

And here was the motive in writing the song in the first place:

Even though that song is supposed to be funny, I really would like to discuss seriously with someone why it is that we tend to be severe with those with whom Jesus was gentle and indulging of those with whom Jesus was severe.

There’s the arrogance, now onto the ignorance.  Mike writes:

In fact, in the Bible, in every mention of coarse language, it is cast as part of sin or sinful itself.

Its hard for me to come up with the words to describe this level of Biblical ignorance.  To give an example, you’ve got Paul’s use of skubalon in Philippians (which is often deliberately mistranslated as "rubbish" and should be at the very least translated as crap).  Then you’ve got Isaiah’s use of the "filthy rags" which is also deliberately mistranslated and could be more accurately translated as "menstrual rags", or rendered perhaps as "used tampons".  Jesus’ use of the word "woe" in Matthew 24 (not to mention phrases like "sons of Hell) all fall into this category.  John the Baptist calling the Pharisees "brood of vipers" wasn’t just a turn of phrase it was a nasty, religious insult, far stronger than anything in the song I posted.  Unfortunately, because of the easily offended nature of Christians in general and especially watchdoggies in particular.  the Bible has been softened and distorted to avoid dealing with offensive passages in it.

Now check out the other side of the issue.  Look what Jesus has to say about speech in Matthew 6 that is socially acceptable, but insubstantial:

5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

But the thing that really gets to me on this issue is this: all those passages from Ephesians, and James and in other places that deal with the sins of the mouth have been ultimately taught to mean "don’t say this list of naughty words".  Just look at the way the watchdoggies conduct themselves.  They have no problem shredding their brothers and sisters in Christ with lies, exaggerations, assumptions and just plain nastiness.  Yet, they maintain they are obeying admonitions to avoid sins of the mouth because they’ve avoided the culture’s no-no words. 

This has even bigger implications, though.  Recently, with the references to what is worldly, the way the watchdoggies look at language, dress, and just generally the outside of the cup they’ve missed the Kingdom completely.  They’re so busy policing worship styles, FCC banned words, and other things that just don’t matter that they’ve bought into the power of the world, and put off the kingdom completely.  In Matthew 20 Jesus says:

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Instead of trying to dominate our fellow citizens politically, and our fellow brothers and sisters via brow beating and the abuse of scripture, a little bit of servanthood would go a long way to embracing the kingdom and rejecting the world.

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165 Comments(+Add)

1   nc    
November 16th, 2007 at 12:25 pm

We should all move to Tangier Island in Virginia. They speak an Elizabethan dialect that has been unchanged since colonial times.

then we would all be ok.

I’m over this.

2   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 12:56 pm

It seems that Mike puts about much logic and contextual scriptural backing into this as he does all of his writings defending the ‘Doctrines of “Grace”‘, which is to say, almost none…

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 1:22 pm

Although I strongly disagree with the “doctrines of grace” as put forth in Calvinism, and although I see much arrogance among some who espouse it, I just cannot see where Mike’s comment and post is anything but a cojent presentation about what should be obvious in Scripture concerning our speech.

I have taught me children it is wrong to curse and swear and I believe the New Testament commands us as such. Using the human genetalia as a form of descriptive scorn is barbaric.

4   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 1:28 pm

I just cannot see where Mike’s comment and post is anything but a cojent presentation about what should be obvious in Scripture concerning our speech.

Usually when people say “can’t you see its obvious” its because its not obvious. The scriptural admonitions towards speech have to do with the content and motives of that speech, rather than what the FCC has decided is offensive.

Using the human genetalia as a form of descriptive scorn is barbaric.

Then I suppose Paul, despite his Greek fluency is a barbarian.

5   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
November 16th, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Tim, the fact that you have to defend using coarse language should be hint enough… I am baffled that there are “christians” out there who are actually trying to defend the use of coarse language.

And then, of course, what would be a defense of coarse language without lumping everyone who disagrees with you into some sort of hypocritical pile of Pharisees?

The article written by Mike? What’s wrong with it? Why would you condemn someone in this case as both arrogant and ignorant?

As for this post, you then go on to use scriptures completely off-base.

In the scripture you used in Matt 6, Jesus was simply speaking of prayer, not speaking in public or anything else. Also your use of Matt 20 is completely off.

In this post you are making yourself an embarassment. Why not just say that the initial post was in bad taste and that you’re sorry? Nope. Instead, you actually go on the offensive. A sad day indeed.

6   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 1:40 pm

You misrepresent the Apostle Paul, I do not see the same careless speech using the human genetalia. Remember, the one or two references in Paul’s epistles (dung) were used to magnify his own unworthiness not as a verbal disdain toward others.

We are supposed to cleanse our selves of all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit. I think cursing falls into one of those catagories.

7   nc    
November 16th, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Here we go again…

8   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 1:52 pm

The article written by Mike? What’s wrong with it? Why would you condemn someone in this case as both arrogant and ignorant?

Its right there in the article. He makes a statement about scripture that is so wrong I wonder if he’s read scripture much, and he makes a blanket statement about the use of coarse language that is beyond arrogant, especially considering the very article linked to shows that he’s wrong in that blanket statement. Arrogance and ignorance, together again.

In the scripture you used in Matt 6, Jesus was simply speaking of prayer, not speaking in public or anything else. Also your use of Matt 20 is completely off.

I’d be interested to see why you’d say that. I think the general principle that God is concerned for the motives and content of our speech rather than how it looks to others both in and out of prayer is legitimate and expressed in Matthew 6.

I’m also a bit baffled at how you can complain about my use of matthew 20. In this instance Jesus contrasts how authority/power is used by Gentiles and his disciples. Gentiles are those outside of the covenant of God, and I think rightly can be identified as “the world”. You disagree, why?

In this post you are making yourself an embarassment. Why not just say that the initial post was in bad taste and that you’re sorry? Nope. Instead, you actually go on the offensive. A sad day indeed.

The original post wasn’t bad taste. THe original post was dead on accurate in expressing a Biblical truth. I’m sorry that those who claim to love the Bible and have it as an authority are offended by it.

If I’m an embarrassment, so be it. I’ve always been a ragamuffin, and a foreigner to the powers that be within the church, and I’ll continue to be so.

Paul,

Tim, the fact that you have to defend using coarse language should be hint enough

Ridiculous argument. The deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the scriptures themselves has long been defended. Should the arguments themselves been enough of a hint? This is begging the question in the extreme.

You misrepresent the Apostle Paul, I do not see the same careless speech using the human genetalia. Remember, the one or two references in Paul’s epistles (dung) were used to magnify his own unworthiness not as a verbal disdain toward others.

Umm, what? The reference to emasculation was a reference to Paul’s disdain for Judaizers.

We are supposed to cleanse our selves of all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit.

And here we have again the misappropriation of the worldly/kingdom dichotomy. How is any word inherently “worldly” (or fleshly) as you put it?

I think cursing falls into one of those catagories.

So, where did that song I linked to curse? There was no cursing in it.

9   nc    
November 16th, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Watch out! CRN just used the term “hoochie”!
I just about fell out of my chair laughing…

10   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

They’re just a bunch of prurient pastors.

11   Timothy Bell    
November 16th, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Tim Reed is a moron.

12   Timothy Bell    
November 16th, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Oops! Did I say that??

13   Timothy Bell    
November 16th, 2007 at 2:07 pm

Sorry!

14   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Timothy,
Thank you for illustrating what James meant by curses and blessings coming from one mouth. And you did it without cussing. WHy its almost like that passage had nothing to do with the particular words used.

15   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
November 16th, 2007 at 2:17 pm

BTW Tim, I didn’t use the term embarrassment in the flattering way you took it (as though you are a martyr for the cause and this is simply the fallout of your magificent sacrifice – so be it).

Matt 6 is simply talking about prayer. How complex is that? When you speak to the Lord, let it come from your heart as opposed to a formula or rosary-style recitation. Period.

There are plenty of other scriptures that deal with speech, including Matt 15 which would have been a better choice… but then it might have damned your whole argument.

The sad case is that when a Christian actually has to spend time in a post/article actually defending the use of vulgar language and arrogantly slamming those who disagree.

With so many other things to discuss… this is what you choose to defend? Sad indeed.

16   Timothy Bell    
November 16th, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Much false verbiage spouteth ye, Mister Reed!

17   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 2:42 pm

The sad case is that when a Christian actually has to spend time in a post/article actually defending the use of vulgar language and arrogantly slamming those who disagree.

As I pointed out before, this is a ridiculous argument that you can apply piecemeal. Just pick out which argument you like, and plug it in accordingly.

There are plenty of other scriptures that deal with speech, including Matt 15 which would have been a better choice… but then it might have damned your whole argument.

Just because there’s all kinds of scriptures that I could have used doesn’t negate my use of a single scripture. I just chose to use this particular one, instead of one of the hundreds that could have supported my points.

With so many other things to discuss… this is what you choose to defend? Sad indeed.

Why don’t you apply this same argument to Mike? He’s the one that began the article posting. Oh, right, you agree with him and not with me. Its not this is a trivial discussion, its just that you’d rather everyone except those you agree with shut up.

18   merry    
November 16th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

Sorry to get off topic from this interesting discussion, but I was wondering: Is there a Bible available that is translated literally from the original Hebrew and Greek? If there is I’d really like to read it. You guys have me curious. :)

19   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
November 16th, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Tim, you see a little (well OK, very) angry. I know you’ll come back and say you’re not, but that’s fine.

Shouting “He started it!” is a little immature don’t you think? It’s not so much that I agree with Mike as I agree with the biblical principle of modesty and temperate conduct.

Why the need to use vulgar language and then justify it? If you have a problem with it or (as I suspect) think it’s a cool, that’s your issue. But to promote it and defend its usage is just plain ridiculous.

20   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Tim, you see a little (well OK, very) angry. I know you’ll come back and say you’re not, but that’s fine.

Why wouldn’t I be angry that many Christians get more upset that I linked to an article that used the word “dick” than are upset by legalism? One is a sin, the other is, at best, tradition. If the church ran around freaking out that soup spoons were being used to eat cereal and didn’t care that self-righteousness was the rule for the church would you be a bit upset? Because, essentially, that’s what’s going on here.

Oh, and add it to the constant abuse of scripture on this issue and many others. In an effort to make pet peeves and tradition Biblical the entire world/kingdom dichotomy has been tossed out.

Shouting “He started it!” is a little immature don’t you think? It’s not so much that I agree with Mike as I agree with the biblical principle of modesty and temperate conduct.

It is exactly that you agree with Mike on this issue. How is any of the language I linked to immodest or extreme in any way?

Why the need to use vulgar language and then justify it? If you have a problem with it or (as I suspect) think it’s a cool, that’s your issue. But to promote it and defend its usage is just plain ridiculous.

Where did I use vulgar language? Why the need to condemn vulgar language and then justify it using extraBiblical arguments, instead of addressing the very real problems in the piece?

21   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 3:11 pm

What about some of us who openly eschew legalism while still rejecting vile language, are we somehow compromised also?

22   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 3:15 pm

What about some of us who openly eschew legalism while still rejecting vile language, are we somehow compromised also?

It all depends on motive. Much like the use of any word, or the taking of any action, or the adoption of any belief.

23   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 3:18 pm

Reminds me of the story attributed to Tony Campolo (and others), where the minister says:

This morning in Africa, before this service comes to an end, 5,000 children will have died of disease and starvation, and none of you really gives a s*** about it. And the really sad thing is that more of you will be offended that I said the word s*** than you will be that 5,000 children died this morning.

To Tim’s point

1) The “song” he linked to didn’t have any “curse words”, as described by the FCC (which seems to be the nebulous standard often in use).
2) The “song” addressed what is probably the achilles heel of the church today (hypocrisy and legalism)
3) Reaction here has sadly been on the use of the word ‘dick’, which – again to Tim’s point – is no worse than a number of euphamisms used by Paul and numerous prophets, and has pretty much completely neglected the substance of the ’song’ – that being legalism and hypocrisy – thus demonstrating his point in real time.
4) It is amazing what scriptures people can twist and turn into their own legalistic “standards” – with Mike R’s article as a case in point.

On the ’song’, itself:
1) I do think that the same point could have been creatively expressed without the need to bring in body parts.
2) I think that it is important that we, as Christians, try to maintain a manner of being that demonstrates the kingdom, and that our ‘cups’ should be clean on the inside and out.
3) In the end analysis, though, having seen the real-time reaction to the ’song’ – in the dicussion provoked and the one avoided – I am beginning to agree with Tim that its bluntness – which did not use profanity (which y’all seem to miss) – was needed to prove exactly the point it set out to prove…

24   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 3:18 pm

I have never been able to discern motives accurately. What would my motive be for my position, exalting myself? I do not understand.

25   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 3:19 pm

What about some of us who openly eschew legalism while still rejecting vile language, are we somehow compromised also?

It comes back to the heart – is your rejecting “vile” language (which is not Biblically defined, which should be a bit of a heads-up of some sort) “lorded over” others?

26   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 3:20 pm

I have never been able to discern motives accurately. What would my motive be for my position, exalting myself? I do not understand.

I’m a little bit at a loss here. Are you saying that you can’t discern your own motives? Or did I misunderstand that?

And I’m not a “you can never tell what someone’s motives are” kind of guy, especially when the person in question tells us what their motivation is. In the case of the song I linked to, he told us exactly what his motives were: to provoke thought on why we give lots of wiggle room to people Jesus didn’t let wiggle at all, and to act severely with people who Jesus let wiggle all over the place.

27   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 3:23 pm

I have never been able to discern motives accurately. What would my motive be for my position, exalting myself? I do not understand.

If you’re using coarse language gratuitously (i.e. “for the hell of it”), then it most certainly is a problem.

If you are using it as a teaching device (as in the Campolo example), or in illuminating the seriousness of an issue (potentially, how it was used in this song), or in immediate relief of life/health-threatening circumstance (as in the guy ducking bullets in the foxhole), I can see motives which are not “for the hell of it”…

28   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 3:24 pm

My point is you cannot discern my motives. In this case I did not come to this view after your post, I simply stated what I believed Scriptures teaches for all of us. As for “lording over” anyone I certainly cannot exercise any authority over anyone, and I am not questioning anyone’s salvation.

I personally think this issue is settled Biblically many, many years ago.

29   nc    
November 16th, 2007 at 3:40 pm

If we can’t discern people’s motives then why are all the objections to language rooted in discernment of people’s motives? (i.e. flaunting freedom, needing to push the envelope, no reverence for God, lack of creativity, selfishness, pride, etc.)

I promised myself that I wouldn’t jump in again…oh well.

I don’t think that Tim is saying you are personally lording over others, Rick. I think he’s pointing to the wider issue of the real, indisputable fact that Christians regularly make their personal convictions/interpretations universal moral imperatives.

And that is wrong. Regardless of the particular issue.

We have guidelines on matters of conscience.
And for me, when I understand the function of language, it’s culturally contingent construction, then useage becomes governed by the scriptural guidelines of conscience…it’s a wisdom issue. Not a prescription.

Not because Scripture isn’t referring to certain things, but because the fundamental decision as to what qualifies is not found in Scripture. (Again…there is no list of words. Except maybe “fool” or “raca”, but that’s a different discussion.)

I’ve made these points again and again over the last couple days and yet nobody addresses them or engages them. It’s frustrating.

Ok.

I really am over it again…

Love to all–cussers and non-cussers alike.

30   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 3:41 pm

I personally think this issue is settled Biblically many, many years ago.

I agree. We just need to restore the issue to those roots, instead of buying into mid 20th century American pseudo-theology on the issue.

31   Sherry C.    http://CRN.InfoandAnalysis
November 16th, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Boar Heads Tavern…a fantastic New Age Christian site! Come on, don’t be dishonest and ashamed to admit you are a New Age Christian site, too. Eugene Peterson, Tony Campolo, Merton, ….

32   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 11:49 pm

Sherry,

Why did you never answer my questions way back when?

In fact one of your answers about predestination was very Gnostic and I wanted to point out what Calvin actually taught which contridicted what you stated as true!

But then you guys like to come and spout off how much better you are and how awful we all are… but not give one biblical reason for you view.

I recommend you go back and read a little bit more Calvin before you give him a bad name by teaching people man i immortal and existed before creation. That is a lie and about as New Age as can be.

iggy

33   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
November 16th, 2007 at 11:50 pm

Oh and go and tell Jim Bublitz i slandered him again!

iggy

34   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 16th, 2007 at 11:55 pm

Sherry,
I suspect very strongly you’ll be surprised that the population of heaven is more than you and the five people who agree with you.

35   Joe C    
November 17th, 2007 at 12:59 am

Hey….I love that God predestined us….don’t be mean!!!

Yeah Tim, there’ll be at LEAST 7 in heaven.

Pff, and monkeys are my anscestors. Oh wait, sorry…”missing link”.

Joe

36   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
November 17th, 2007 at 1:36 am

Joe,

I believe God does and really despite Sherry’s strange assertion that man existed before creation, Calvin never taught that… And I agree with what he taught… but still do not consider myself a Calvinist.

iggy

37   sherry    
November 17th, 2007 at 7:21 am

Wow!

What a fine example of “self” in all these comments. Clearly not seen, is Christ.

What is needed? Nothing but Him! Seek Him first – He will work out the details. For we are all nothing without Him.

May we all come to that point like Isaiah – “Woe is me!”

Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psa 51:9-10)

The plain fact of the matter is, though you can clean up the outside of the cup and leave the inside full of corruption, you cannot clean up the inside without cleaning up the outside also. If the heart is right, the life will be right….If the life is wrong, the heart is wrong. –Henry Gouger (1799-1860)

The hypocrite hearkens more after eloquence than substance….The Christian looks most to the power of the word; he…weighs the matter rather than the manner, and regards the message more than the messenger. The one falls down before man, the other before God. Comforts, promises, and general truths he [the hypocrite] loves; the doctrine of the cross he hates….The Christian hears all God’s word, loves to be smitten…[and cries], “Search me, and try my heart.” –John Fletcher

How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You… Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps119:9,11; 139:23-24)

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.. (Rom13:14)

This is all that is needed.

38   sherry    
November 17th, 2007 at 7:26 am

AND….

The mingling of that which is of God with that which is of man is a special form of evil, and a very effectual engine, in Satan’s hand, for marring the testimony of Christ on the earth. This mingling may frequently wear the appearance of something very desirable; it may often look like a wider promulgation of that which is of God-a fuller and a more vigorous outgoing of a divine influence-a something to be rejoiced in rather than to be deplored: but our judgment as to this will depend entirely upon the point of view from which we contemplate it. If we look at it in the light of God’s presence, we cannot possibly imagine that an advantage is gained when the people of God mingle themselves with the children of this world, or when the truth of God is corrupted by human admixture. Such is not the divine method of promulgating truth, or of advancing the interests of those who ought to occupy the place of witnesses for Him on the earth. Separation from all evil is God’s principle; and this principle can never be infringed without serious damage to the truth….Satan’s first effort was to frustrate God’s purpose by putting the holy seed to death; and when that failed, he sought to gain his end by corrupting it. ….C.H. MacKintosh

I rejoiced greatly that I have found of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. And now I plead with you…that we walk according to His commandments. If anyone comes…and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (~2Jn4-11)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.. (2Cor10:3-4)

…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.(Phil 2:15-16)

39   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 17th, 2007 at 8:00 am

Sherry wrote:

This is all that is needed.

I agree. What is especially not needed are bunches of man-made rules.

40   nate    
November 17th, 2007 at 8:25 am

Amen Tim!

41   sherry    
November 17th, 2007 at 8:31 am

Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. (Jas 3:5-10)

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Eph 5:3-5)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me,’ Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day,’ Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them,’ I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness]’ (Matthew 7:15-23)

42   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 17th, 2007 at 8:36 am

Exactly Sherry. Not a single word in there about words the culture has decided are naughty. Its a shame that false teachers are piling up burdens on Christians that are entirely the product of the culture. Although I suppose you covered that in the quote from Matthew 7:15ff.

43   sherry    
November 17th, 2007 at 1:16 pm

A question I often ask myself, “Do I fit in with the world and its ways?” If I do, I cannot be living for God.

44   Joe C    
November 17th, 2007 at 1:22 pm

And do you say “oh no, I’m not a Christian”? And strip Christ of His saving power over you?

Is Christ in you or not? That’s the ‘test’ in ‘test yourselves’.

I think Jesus has a serious problem with us saying by our own judgment “Yeah, that guy is too much like the world, oh, he said the A word, he must not be Christian, let us shun him.”

You could have discipled that person. Oh well, our loss on the day of judgment when the fire will test our treasure.

Mine’s not in lack of swearing, I’ll tell you THAT much.

Joe

45   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 17th, 2007 at 1:43 pm

A question I often ask myself, “Do I fit in with the world and its ways?” If I do, I cannot be living for God.

That might, might, be a decent question to ask if you’ve got the same understanding of “world” that Jesus and Paul did. But if you’re applying it in the use of specific words then you don’t.

46   sherry    
November 17th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

I agree – I am not applying it to specific words, but a behavior nonetheless – and trust me, when I ask if I fit in with the world and its ways, I am using God’s word to define that for me, for His ways are not our ways! And when you are following Christ and seeking Him with a true heart, He doesn’t hold back – He guides.

Joe stated;
And do you say “oh no, I’m not a Christian”? And strip Christ of His saving power over you?

No, but I do repent and continue to seek after Him, in spite of my flesh…and though I fail, sin does not reign over me – I have obtained victory with Christ!

Tim Reed stated;
That might, might, be a decent question to ask if you’ve got the same understanding of “world” that Jesus and Paul did. But if you’re applying it in the use of specific words then you don’t.

Examining oneself is not my concept, but rather, from God’s word. It is more than just a decent question, it is a command.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith;examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

47   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 17th, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Sherry,
I’m not really sure you are. The world as defined by Jesus has far more to do with servanthood and authority and their proper uses than it does with anything in this article.

48   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 17th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Sherry,

I agree with Tim here – you’re use of “world” is much smaller-minded than the world (kosmos) referenced by Jesus and Paul. Additionally, you’ve made the “world” into a free-for-all for legalists (which is probably why they love this “the world = externals” view, as well).

49   Nathan    
November 17th, 2007 at 11:22 pm

OK, hopefully “Deborah” a commenter who posted a response to a comment of mine, will read this thread, as Mike decided not to post my response to her. Here is the comment that Mike deleted at the end of the thread at this post:
http://mikeratliff.wordpress.com/2007/11/15/genuine-repentance/

###

Deborah,
Go back and read what you just wrote …

“Doesn’t look like man made laws to me.”

Then …

“I could ask many people if they think those words in that song are Christ like and I probably wouldn’t get even one to say yes.”

So who is it up to? Scripture or a poll?

BTW, I’m not necessarily saying it’s ok to say “damn” … I’m just trying to figure out why you think it’s a sin. So far it has been established that there are verses that condemn “crude” speech. What hasn’t been established is an objective way of determining what is and is not “crude” … because if we leave it up to men, everyone has their own definition of “crude”.

And if you are of the opinion that is a matter between you and God, then what gives you the authority to decide for the rest of us that “damn” is “crude”, or for that matter, decide for God?

Just curious…

###

Just curious Mike, what part of that post did you not want Deborah and the rest of your readers to see?

50   Joe C    
November 18th, 2007 at 1:29 am

Nathan, they don’t like you over there, it’s been made clear in previous posts. That’s why they didn’t let you comment, I would think. Also, no different views were allowed to be posted, if you’ll observe. As far as I can see. Also, you used the D word, I’m assuming you were censored for that also. Which I mean okay, if they’re sensitive to that, then you should have expected that and not used the word, so as not to give Mike an excuse to mod you. It is HIS blog afterall, he calls the shots. I think that’s fair.

But I don’t really have a repuation there, I’ve usually agreed with Mike, but I got mod’ed too!! I sent an email to Mike about, and he got back to me, but kinda just coldly lumped me in with people who want ‘unity at all costs’, and want to support ‘fleshy actions’ and call it ‘godly’. That’s not me at all…I really don’t get it. So no I’m an outcast. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I started posting and befriending everyone here. I’ll take a hit for that anyday.

I guess I’m pretty upset about it because I thought I had some good points, but apparently they’re not good enough to even be corrected (the obvious implication being that I am wrong). But isn’t that our jobs to correct each other?

I sent another email back to Mike to clear the air a bit better, and try to figure out what happened and why there was so many comments not getting through and his reasons, so I’ll keep waiting on that. The email I have gotten from him though was absolutely NOT what I expected from him.

Lately I’ve seen the ODM sites be very nice to anyone who agrees with them, but if you stray on just one point, they seem very…well…cold and mean. I don’t care if I was the biggest heretic in the world, you don’t treat people like that. You don’t bash people like they were doing in those comments. Ridiculous. That’s not Christian behavior. Rebuke is one thing, but sarcasm, name calling, and telling people they’re blind and pathetic and damned, over SWEARING…that’s just…I mean…what is that?

And this is coming from ME, I used to LOVE CRN et al. In the last couple months I’ve finally noticed serious problems with what’s going on over in the ODMs. I have no idea what to do anymore.

This comment was so disjointed lol, I’m sorry, I’m glad it won’t be modded though! Har har….-sigh-

Joe

51   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 18th, 2007 at 6:34 am

Joe C,
What you’ll find is that absolute agreement is a requirement for watchdoggie love. For them agreement comes before Christ.

52   sherry    
November 18th, 2007 at 6:57 am

As I stated above, this is not about mere words, but a behavior – - though I do think that someone calling themselves a Christian ought to live separate than the world’s ways – - and we all know that a potty mouth is the norm, and in fact, it is more and more accepted that even the youth do not hide it in front of adults.
Even teens will boast in saying, “Who said it was a bad word”? They are not concerned with conduct .

2 Corinthians 13:5
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith;examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

Yes, I agree that faith in Christ is what needs to be examined – but surely we can all agree that one’s behavior gives some clue to whom they serve….where their faith is….

if you look like the world, talk like the world, and act like the world…well, you are of the world….and that is where your faith is.

If we “name the name of Christ” we are to “depart from iniquity.”(2Tm2:19) We are not to “[conform] yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”(1Pt1:14-15) ..and worship.. As He says, “this is the way, walk in it.”(Is30:21)

Again, this is not just about the use of “words” – it is a behavior – the “words” are a mere by-product.

Holiness is – behavior It is our “CONDUCT” … “Behave yourselves…” (1Pet1:15,17)

When people see the Christian, what do they see? Another carbon copy of the world? Or do they see “Christ in you”? (Col1:27)

53   sherry    
November 18th, 2007 at 7:03 am

Not that this really matters, but I am not the same sherry that iggy is responding to – and

Tim, you stated;
Sherry,
I’m not really sure you are.

I didn’t know what this meant, so I couldn’t answer.
What are you not sure I am?

54   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 18th, 2007 at 7:16 am

I’m not sure that you’re using scripture to define “world”. The way paul and jesus use “world” has nothing to do with being different in particulars of speech, clothing or externals. It has to do with the fundamental way each works. In Matthew 20 Jesus pretty much defines the world and the kingdom with a contrast of how Gentiles (those outside of the covenant of God) use authority and how Jews (those in the covenant of God) should approach it. In other places Jesus says, “You have heard it said… but I say…” which is another formulation for world/kingdom dichotomy. At its root being conformed to the world has everything to do with how our relationships are defined. Are they defined by love and servanthood, or by authority and objects? Viewing “worldliness” as dress, word usage, and other unimportant externals doesn’t just water down this teaching it dilutes the kingdom itself.

55   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 7:18 am

Mike Ratliff is a hoot…

I commented on his blog and he did not let my comments through… he had his reasons, as he stated it was the “tone” (though he only read the first sentence and marked it as spam then went back to read it and it was deleted) or he was too busy, or he claimed it was not on the topic…

He did let me know that I was not saved, and Chuck Missler “tickled peoples ears” (though he later confessed that “someone told him about Chuck Missler” some wrong info concerning his teaching).

I tried to get him to see that if I was guilty by association, so was he, but he did not think that was so, because he wrote from out of the Bible’s teaching…

It was an interesting conversation that seemed that no matter what i stated he could justify and rationalize his way out of what I stated and just called them false accusations.

I was guilty by association because I have a link to Brian McLaren, but he was not even though he wrote for CRN with people who lie and slander others… and had no problem in supporting them.

all I can say is hmmm… I bet the bible does have something to say about that! LOL!

iggy

56   sherry    
November 18th, 2007 at 7:48 am

Tim, I agree that we cannot judge the appearence of things, but our conduct is important! Our conduct does give an insight of what we are about. Love and servanthood is also a by-product of who and what we are – they in and of themselves prove nothing, but are mere “works” – you cannot look at someone whom is devoted to service and what is perceived to be love, as a true mark of a Christian – that too is looking to externals…it also is a form of conduct. )(mother) Teresa is a fine example of that – a servant out of love? She sure appeared that way – but to whom? Well her “words” would indicate that she did not serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

But I agree that we should be devoted to love, servanthood, and all these “externals” that indicate whom we serve – and of course we all know that it is only God that knows our heart, and it is not the acts of servanthood, love and kindness, to obstain from cussing, or to ok cussing – that saves us – that too would be legalistic to claim such – for we all know and agree that we are saved by His grace, and through His grace we are called to good works. None of us have room to boast, for we all need to focus more on Him.

To sum it up – John 3:30 states it best…

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

This is truly where our focus needs to be.

May God bless you.

57   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Sherry,

Funny that I stated all this a long time ago…

Also, the reference you used though it fits is not biblically accurate. John is speaking specifically about his own ministry…

The truth is that as Paul teaches, we must die so He might live.

Romans 6: 3-10 states this clearly…

This again is the issue of how modernists take the bible literally… they pick and choose. I see clearly the context and then see that John was under the OT and saw himself clearly in that way and what his ministry was. Though it sounds close there is a huge difference between diminishing one’s self and understanding one is united to Christ in His death and then live by His resurrection.

This is not splitting hairs it is the difference between living the Life of Christ, or still living our own. Anything from us will burn all that will remain is Christ.

If I was to hold you to the strict standard that Jim Bublitz hold others, then you are a heretic and teaching false doctrine by using that scripture wrongly.

iggy

58   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

It is not either/or, it is both.

“Having these promises dearly beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

There are sins of the spirit (judgment, hatred, strife, pride) and their are sins of the flesh (drunkeness, cursing, laziness), both must bed repented of.

59   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 1:14 pm

Rick,

Again this verse is misused and confused…

If you look at the “promises” in verses chapter 6 of 2 Corinthians, Paul is speaking to the gentile believer who had a similar affliction as the Jew… they would still go and appease the “other” gods who were not really gods at all. But, if they walked in the faith (which the “how” one “come out among them”.

It is the response to the calling of the Father as true sons an daughters. It is in this turning we are cleansed and not in what we do ourselves… it is walking in the cleansing blood of Jesus instead of still walking in the paganistic world of demons and idols. This is the same idea that Paul and the writer of Hebrews talk about that if one claims Jesus saves then then goes back to the sacrificial system then they truly do not believe. One cannot trust the blood of Jesus and the blood of bulls and goats.

When Paul states in 2 Cor 7:1 “…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

It is this turning that perfects holiness. We have no holiness except that which is imputed to us.

Now, I agree that we have yet to obtain this perfection in it’s fullness, but that is why faith leads to hope… and hope is believing in what we have not seen.

So we do aim for our perfection by persevering in Christ Jesus and we persevere because he sustains us in our total dependency on and in Him.

Be blessed,
iggy

60   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 1:27 pm

This verse follows the last half of chapter 6 which deals with separation. “Perfecting” means manifesting. There is a difference between standing and state. The man in first Corinthians was saved (standing) but his conduct (state) required his dismissal from the fellowship.

Admittedly some of this is a mystery, but much of the New Testament deals with behavior sins. The 7:1 verse deal with this. My son will always be my son but his conduct affects our relationship and also can bring reproach on my entire family.

61   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Rick,

I was explaining some of the mystery… as revealed in other parts of scripture. LOL!

Love ya man… hope your lord’s day is going good.

blessings,
iggy

62   Deborah    
November 18th, 2007 at 4:01 pm

Tim,
Are you going to answer Keith @ Church Voices: Cheater Keith asked:Would you show that to your congregation ? You didn’t really answer that question. That has a simple answer we can all understand. Yes or No (lots of cursing in it) Your arrogant by calling people legalistic if they don’t agree with your compromising .

63   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 18th, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Debbie,
I have a lot of video of my son screaming incoherently at his ball. I wouldn’t show that during service to my congregation. Based on this information do I believe that balls, or incoherent screaming by a baby is a sin?

64   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
November 18th, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Tim, are you deliberately being obtuse? It’s a simple question: Would you show THAT particular video? Why are you avoiding a simple “yes” or “no?”

65   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 18th, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Keith,
Are you being deliberately obtuse? Its a simple question. Why wouldn’t I show a video of my son? Is it because I believe babies screaming incoherently are sinful, or because I believe a child’s ball is sinful? Why are you avoiding a simple choice?

66   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
November 18th, 2007 at 4:57 pm

I asked first. “Robert’s Rules of Order.” Answer mine; I answer yours.

67   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 18th, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Robert was a tool, and this isn’t a meeting.

68   Deborah    
November 18th, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Tim,
The babies screaming or the ball are not sinning. Babies are adorable and precious.
You don’t answer anything you just ask another question to avoid answering. A simple yes or no would suffice.

69   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
November 18th, 2007 at 5:13 pm

In answer to your question: “Why do watchdoggies fear conversation?” again, I’ll state it’s not so much “fear” as it is frustration over one-sided conversations like this one. Tim, I’m sincerely asking a question and you keep coming back with responses on the level of playground banter–”I know you are but what am I!”

I’ve got a meeting to at 4:30 CDT. I’ll check back later, but judging from what I’m getting now, I don’t anticipate a real answer. Man, you really are angry, aren’t you? I was just trying to carry on a conversation; you make me want to quit trying. No wonder the world sometimes looks at Christians and the way they treat/talk to each other and say: “Man, I don’t want any part of that.”

I hope you get to feeling better…soon.

70   Deborah    
November 18th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Keith, I guess we will just have to assume that it would be a yes if they weren’t screaming in the video. Have a good day

71   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 7:26 pm

Keith,

Not sure where this conversation turned, but the key difference in “coarse joking” would point to the purpose of the conversation, and not the individual words chosen (going back to using particular topics specifically for the purpose of titillation or “for the hell of it”, which would fall under this description).

I doesn’t seem at all like Paul is suggesting that there are a specific list of “coarse” words, but that it is the topic of conversation which is being addressed and the manner in which the topic is being addressed.

72   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 7:40 pm

Ah – a conversation being carried over from Tim’s blog.

Just to hazard a guess, I would suspect that Tim’s reasoning for not showing it in his church service is that it is probably not the appropriate venue (where you tend to take the wide diversity of a large group meeting into account), but that if there was something relevant to a teaching point in small groups, it might be appropriate.

It still baffles me that certain Christians get their panties in a twist over a short list of words never defined in the Bible,calling them “cursing”, but couldn’t give a whit about folks who studiously avoid those words in their actual cursing.

Watchdog logic, I suppose…

73   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 18th, 2007 at 9:04 pm

A simple yes or no would suffice.

Actually Debbie, a yes or no won’t suffice. As I’ve pointed out with my question, whether or not I would show a particular video in service isn’t a benchmark of anything other than whether or not that video teaches a point I want to make and does so more powerfully than I could make it on my own. I was hoping you and Keith would be able to work that through on your own.

You don’t answer anything you just ask another question to avoid answering.

You must really hate reading abotu Jesus.

Keith, how have I been angry in the least? Given the amount of abuse that Mike Ratliff, and the Pastor-Teacher Reverend Kennikens has heaped up on me over the last few days I’ve been downright hospitable.

74   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
November 18th, 2007 at 9:34 pm

Chris L : I guess you’re going to have to type slower for me, because I’m not following your statement(s)…and I’m really trying.

You said: …the key difference in “coarse joking” would point to the purpose of the conversation, and not the individual words chosen… Could you explain how a conversation could be considered “coarse” if it were not for the words chosen?

When you state things like …[it] doesn’t seem at all like Paul is suggesting that there are a specific list of “coarse” words,…, it sounds like you’re just unwilling to be specific. I read the Apostle’s words and — as I’ve already stated — can’t read anything else except that he has something VERY SPECIFIC in mind. Words and/or phrases deemed “coarse” in the first century may be nothing in 2008 and vice-versa. I think the point is WHATEVER the words are, be it 1 AD or 2008 AD, if they are considered offensive by the rank and file population, don’t use them. Is that too far a stretch?

I’m not understanding your paragraph beginning with It still baffles me that certain Christians… Could you rephrase, please.


Tim : Since Debbie and I are not mind-readers, my guess is that we were both hoping you could just simply answer the question. I don’t know how we could “work that through on [own] own” since it was YOUR input we were seeking.

I’m not saying you’ve been angry toward me. I cannot be responsible for the actions of others or your reaction to them– I’m just telling you– I’ve been hanging around here for a while and there is a definite difference in your tone/demeanor. I think I understand you frustration, but brother, it appears some of this is taking a very big toll on you and a sabbatical may not be a bad idea. If I sense it here, I cannot help but think it may be effecting other areas as well. Just trying to offer some helpful insight. (I’m not a psycologist…but I have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express.)

75   Nathan    
November 18th, 2007 at 10:04 pm

Deborah,
(assuming you are the same Deborah from our conversation)
Did you get a chance to read my response to you that Mike didn’t allow to go through? If not, go up in the comments of this post and read over it. I just wanted you to know that I didn’t ignore you before … although Mike made it seem that way.

76   nc    
November 18th, 2007 at 10:51 pm

I went over to Ratliff’s site and asked some questions.
I didn’t attack anyone, but put some questions to them about this issue.

My questions weren’t even posted.

Is that typical over there?

77   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 18th, 2007 at 11:04 pm

NC,
It appears so. I’ve learned quite a bit about watchdoggies from this particular episode, and Mike in particular has taught me that when it comes down to it they take their cues from their culture far more than they do from scripture.

78   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
November 18th, 2007 at 11:06 pm

nc,

Yes if the questions are deemed not on topic by Mike.

iggy

79   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
November 18th, 2007 at 11:59 pm

If we all picked something by Chopin as our new favorite song (Raindrop Prelude, for example), none of this would have happened.

I’m not kidding.

80   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
November 18th, 2007 at 11:59 pm

Maybe I was kind of kidding.

Rachmaninoff is an excellent choice, too.

81   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
November 19th, 2007 at 12:12 am

OK, serious now.

The Boar’s Head Tavern song that got all this started?

When I read it, I feel embarrassed.

All of the interesting discussion above aside, it makes me embarrassed. The last line, especially. So, what then? Legalist? Prude? Pathetic baby Christian not able to handle the freedom of a fellow brother?

Mainly, just embarrassed.

There’s a web site of a friend who has wildly different political thoughts and as much as I’d like to link to him and get a different point of view going on various political topics, I simply can’t. His language is foul.

I have said my share of crudities, or at least, what I consider horrifying crudities. So now I’m thinking: what seemed acceptable to the song writer above left me feeling embarrassed, so how does what I think is mild leave someone else feeling?

I’m not concerned about the petrol-saturated “light me on fire and watch me explode!” kind of Christian looking for a fight, but, you know, random visitor. Non-Christian. I don’t sound any more real, I don’t think, throwing in an a** here and there. I can’t claim every post to be “part of a Christmas song” as I have done jokingly in the past.

I remember listening to a song, hearing the non-radio edit for the first time. All was the same but one word: f**k. The radio edit made more sense, so I was always disappointed with the “original” version that seemed to put it in just to say “look here!” I decided that it was not only possible, but often better to worry less about being crude on purpose, crude for shock, and, conversely, overly prim, and try to write well without abusing my reader. The same for conversation.

So, again, all the fine scriptural discussion aside: what is the benefit of talking/writing like that? Beyond shock, what? People often rise to meet the level of discourse, so if we try to “keep it real” we actually adjust “reality” lower. I’ve noticed that if I continue to not swear in a conversation, people start to adjust their own talking accordingly without really seeming to notice it.

What are the benefits of having all of these conversations sans swear words, etc., you might wonder. I don’t know. I just feel a lot lower percentage of embarrassment throughout the days. And my vocabulary doesn’t shrink to a select set of four-letter adjectives for all occasions. And that’s something.

82   sherry    
November 19th, 2007 at 4:51 am

Wow!

This whole list of comments is full of arrogance and ignorance – thus the title is appropriate!

The whole air is full of man’s pride, puffed up in theology, passed for knowledge. ALL becoming “watch-doggies”, but not looking within.

Clearly what is not seen is John 3:30…rather is fits in biblically or not – this is all that is needed –

He must increase (live), I must decrease (die) – this does sum up the gospel.

May we all be humbled before our Maker and acknowledge how we are all undone!

83   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 7:34 am

Whether we are embarrassed or not, whether it is more culturally “rea”, whether it is more descriptive or not, makes no difference. It is unchristlike and against the clear teaching of Scripture. You can point out the seeveral instances of common language in the Scriptures and just like Peter’s questionable grammar God allowed it (very few), but God’s commandments are legion about wholesome words that edify.

We are so afraid of being Christian nerds. I am a Harley Davidson rider who came so close to murder and bank robbery, I am 6′5″ and 250 lbs. and have never been accused of being a nerd. But by God’s grace my children have never heard even the “h” or “d” word come from my lips because after I was saved I knew it was wrong even before I began to study the New Testament. And I made you guys look like choir boys.

I have been asked if I was a Christian many times in 32 years simply based upon someone’s observation that I did not curse. A testimony to the “reality” of His power!

84   sherry    
November 19th, 2007 at 7:55 am

Amen, Rick!

Our conduct is a part, a very important part of our witnessing! And by no means am I saying our conduct saves anybody, but scripture clearly teaches that our behavior is a reflection of our heart life.

Like I said earlier…

When people see the Christian, what do they see? Another carbon copy of the world? Or do they see “Christ in you”? (Col1:27)

85   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
November 19th, 2007 at 8:10 am

Well, Rick, it matters to me if I am embarrassed or whatever you’d like to call it — maybe that’s the wrong word, I don’t know — because the core reason why I am embarrassed or feel uncomfortable around that talk is part of the full reason why we should control our tongue — what it does inside. The non-edifying part. All of that. Like you said. Except you said it doesn’t matter. But it does.

I’m not sure what being a Harley rider has to do with anything, or how that lends any more legitimacy or does anything less than the same thing people use rough language: proving something about yourself. You’re contrasting your Harley image with your Christian image and saying something like “see — I could be this but I’m this” whereas a person using crude language is saying something like “see — I could be a fuddy-duddy but I’m like this.”

Same trap.

I could enthrall you with tales of “I used to be involved in horse shows ad rodeo and I never chewed tobacco or drank even though I could because I knew that etc. etc. etc.” What’s the point, here?

You made a similar point at the end, regarding not swearing and how it affects people, that I tried to make in my comment, though of course, you had to first say it doesn’t matter if I feel embarrassed or not before making your own very similar point. Again, it matters to me.

And Sherry, I don’t know if you’re onto this or not, but I’m not in support of this kind of language yet you just continue to fabulously edify and uplift with your comments.

Amen choirs are sickening.

86   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 8:17 am

My point is that being embarrassed only matters to the embarssee because some who are not embarrassed use that as an excuse, I wasn’t minimizing your embarrassment. Additionally some have said that only prudes object and I wanted to show that isn’t correct. We should be against crude language because God is against it, all the rest is fringe.

Sorry if you took my comment wrongly.

87   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 8:41 am

We should be against crude language because God is against it, all the rest is fringe.

That’s simply not true. Even Keith has come to the conclusion that this is a cultural issue.

Which strikes me as odd since all the people coming over here telling me that I’m worldy, fleshly etc. are using our secular standards to condemn me.

The thing I find most disheartening is that people are so willing to turn away from scripture the second their sensibilities and tradition come under scrutiny.

Julie’s embarrassment is a far better argument for abstaining from particular words than “God is against it”. The first is a Biblical concept, teh second is not.

88   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 8:57 am

One man’s Biblical conviction is another man’s secular standards. Embarrassment is a better reason than Scriptural mandate (God is against it).

I am getting it.

89   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 9:18 am

Now you’re sounding like a watchdoggie Rick because you’re using their tactics. That’s a strawman.

The fact that you think taking into consideration a sister’s feelings when conduct isn’t Biblical certainly speaks volumes.

Assuming that a bunch of Jewish guys writing in ancient Greek ~2k years ago had in mind a secularly chosen group of forbidden English words is just bad hermeneutics.

90   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 9:41 am

Could you explain how a conversation could be considered “coarse” if it were not for the words chosen?

Paul’s wording here is “coarse joking”. I assume first, that you can see that this is not an injunction against humor, itself, but “coarse” humor.

Perhaps you were never in public school or in a public university, but hearkening back to those days of my life, I can think of a rather large number of “dirty jokes” that didn’t use any obscene language, but which – topically – were filthy. Most of them involved sex. In fact, one reason most of them didn’t include those words was because a good joke builds to a punch line, so you don’t try to add “shock value” before you get to the payoff.

I could give examples, but I won’t, because I don’t want to return to that place in my life…

When you state things like …[it] doesn’t seem at all like Paul is suggesting that there are a specific list of “coarse” words,…, it sounds like you’re just unwilling to be specific.

Actually, no – the only reason I’m unwilling to be specific is because I’m not really wanting to tell dirty jokes in this forum (or outside of it). The word “coarse” modifies “joking” – which is what ie being pointed to here…

I think the point is WHATEVER the words are, be it 1 AD or 2008 AD, if they are considered offensive by the rank and file population, don’t use them. Is that too far a stretch?

Which is where legalism creeps in, and where context also gets left out.

Growing up in a farm community, I once had a farmer in my church explain that s*** was only a ‘dirty word’ if it was not used as a noun to describe excrement, and that ‘damn’ should only be considered foul when combined with the Lord’s name or when used as a verb toward someone. That ‘Dick’ was acceptable as shorthand for Richard or to descibe a male body part – but not to describe a person who’s name was not Richard… and so on – basically saying to look at the context. That made sense to me, in light of Paul’s writing, as it brought in context of language rather than a nebulous list defined by whoever happened to be listening.

Legalism occurs when men make rules for what will please God, and place ‘hedges’ around scripture to enforce their own definitions of personal holiness. Your shifting definition describes the very heart from which legalism comes – if the listener believes that a word is offensive – in and of its very nature – then the speaker is sinning by stating that word…

Talk about trying to hit (or avoid hitting) a moving target.

I’m not understanding your paragraph beginning with It still baffles me that certain Christians…

Here’s what I wrote:

It still baffles me that certain Christians get their panties in a twist over a short list of words never defined in the Bible,calling them “cursing”, but couldn’t give a whit about folks who studiously avoid those words in their actual cursing.

“Cursing” someone is the opposite of “blessing” them – which is basically wishing them ill (though it goes deeper than that).

“Curse words” has been taken to be synonymous with the FCC’s 7 words and anything else the offendee wants to toss in (’crap’, ’sucks’, ‘pissed off’, etc.) What “curse words” actually refers to is pretty narrow – primarily “damn” and “hell” – when used to wish that someone would be “damned to hell”, or that God would do so – basically cursing them instead of blessing them.

So, with that background (which I assumed the reader would understand, perhaps incorrectly), by comment was that:

There are some Christians who actually do curse people (in the real sense) all of the time without using “curse words” (in the broad sense), and that these are the same people who get completely bent out of shape when people are NOT cursing other people (in the real sense) while using “curse words” (in the broad sense).

Like a good clean joke, it loses its punch when you have to explain it, but I was basically contrasting the actual meaning of cursing (speaking nastily about someone, potentially invoking God or what you wish/believe to be their final destination) with the legalistic interpretation of cursing (speaking one of a handful of listener-defined words).

91   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 9:44 am

Tim – I did not say I would not take a sister’s feelings into consideration, I said the Scriptures trump any and all of our personal feeling either pro or con. The person that posted that “song” is the one who took no ones “feelings” into consideration.

92   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 9:49 am

The question is, and will continue to be, “by what standard are we determining what words are not ok to say?”

It’s not about justifying a pet sin … or having the ability to add new words to our vocabulary …

I would gladly, GLADLY, stand behind those of you speaking out against the “big 7″ if there were an objective way of displaying that those words are indeed not pleasing to God.

So far, it’s been nothing but an appeal to our intuition.

“Come on guys, you know it’s wrong”,
“If you were spirit filled, you’d know it’s wrong”,
“If you weren’t so full of man’s pride, puffed up in theology, passed for knowledge, then you’d think it’s wrong”,
“He must increase, I must decrease, therefore you can’t say the big 7″ (I really don’t get that last one).
“It embarasses me, therefore it’s a sin” (that may not be what you meant, Julie, I’m sorry if I misinterpreted you there)

Yet not one objective way of determining what is and is not ok to say!

So I challenge the word police here to come up with one single way, a filter of some sort that can let us know what we are to avoid saying. And none of that “think on these things” junk. That’s the epitome of subjective.

Anyone?

93   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 9:59 am

To pull back out of the weeds for a moment, and to take Julie’s “embarrassment” into account:

Jesus stated that the two greatest commands were:

1) Love God
2) Love others

- and that all other commands hang on these two.

Where the disconnect in much of this discussion seems to be springing from is a misunderstanding of which of these two commands our speech should come from.

The reason we ‘tame the tongue’ is in response to #2 – loving others – rather than #1 – loving God. This is evident by there NOT being a list of ‘good words’ and ‘bad words’ in the Bible, and no direct prohibition in the Hebrew scriptures. What IS prohibited in the Hebrew scripture is the cursing of other people (which is also a violation of ‘love your neighbor’).

I keep my own speech free of actual cursing and “curse words” because I believe that, as defined by the society I live in, I can differentiate myself as a Christian by doing so. I believe that this also shows love for my neighbor, because I won’t unnecessarily embarrass or offend them (the key being ‘unnecessarily’).

Where I go off the rails, though, is when I expect my own standards of personal holiness to extend to all other Christians.

Paul’s admonition about “coarse joking” was about dirty jokes, which I would agree that no Christians should be spreading (and which, to my knowledge, are about the only things which spread at about the same speed as gossip).

94   keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
November 19th, 2007 at 9:59 am

Chris: I appreciate the time you spent putting together your last post–answering some of the questions I asked.

You have given this subject way more thought than I have. Although you appear to defend the use of some words in “context,” I will choose to take the extreme road of avoiding the use of those words altogether– in or out of context. In doing so, I don’t run the risk of being offensive to anyone. (Incidently, I do plenty to offend them in other ways; I don’t need to give them more ammunition.)

I’ve NEVER had anyone tell me I’ve offended them because I DIDN’T used words such as s***, h***, d***, etc. (”Man, I’d believe you if you just used more profanity!”)

===
Tim: Yes, I agree it is a “cultural thing.” In my culture (the “buckle of the Bible Belt”) certain words are STILL considered profanity.

95   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 10:04 am

OK, Nathan, let us get practical against the backdrop that the Scriptures do command our speech to be different. All words have a cultural bent to them, and they cannot be relegated to some list. But everyone should agree that certain words are always inappropriate. Many of those contain four letters.

But there are words like “crap” that I personally avoid but I would not say they are absolutely wrong for any Christian to use. It is always subjective since the Bible says “wholesome words” but gives no list. But God does give us wisdom and depending upon the perspective you begin with will dictate your final conclusion. A rule of thumb, if there is a question avoid it, after all, it’s not like we’re sacrificing food and clothing or being burned at the stake.

Maybe a little inconvenience for His testimony.

96   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 10:10 am

Nathan,

I would suggest that the standard is:

“Love your neighbor as yourself”

Leaving the big-picture of cursing without ‘cursing’ aside…

When writing/speaking to a large audience – like on the internet – we should all be sensitive to what may offend unnecessarily. If you are writing about how scary the implications of Jesus’ teaching are, do you want people to center on your thesis, or that you used the “f-word” in describing it (and likely completely missing the point you were making)?

However, if we look at the Campolo example (without giving full endorsement to Campolo, lest the 6th-degree’ers pull out their long knives):

This morning in Africa, before this service comes to an end, 5,000 children will have died of disease and starvation, and none of you really gives a s*** about it. And the really sad thing is that more of you will be offended that I said the word s*** than you will be that 5,000 children died this morning.

In this case, the speaker is NOT using ‘offensive’ language unnecessarily (gratuitously). Instead, he is trying to make a point specifically about the whacked-out priority some Christians place on speech over actually caring for the poor.

It is about context, context, context:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

97   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
November 19th, 2007 at 10:11 am

Nathan. This is some of the most foolish reasoning I have ever heard. “Can I please have a list of all the words I shouldn’t say?”

People who require proof about things like this highlight the fact that they have little understanding about the actual message of the Bible.

For example, I could be ignorant and ask you to provide me with a scripture that specifically speaks against the smoking of marijuana – specifically. We could debate and debate all day and never conclude anything.

With over 70 comments on this post – and numerous others – I think it is safe to say that time is being wasted even responding to your ridiculous reasoning.

I’m still baffled that there are certain people actually trying to DEFEND the use of coarse language – of course, in context that is.

98   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
November 19th, 2007 at 10:17 am

I think right or wrong, there is still a bit of cultural stigma attached to some words. I live in the godless Northeast US, and I think people still consider those words “bad” if people use them. I know non-Christian people I have relationships with who know I am a Christian would give me funny looks if they heard me using them. It’s not that I even make a big deal about other people using them – I don’t. It’s just that there is still a thread of people having a list of good and bad words.

I don’t think it’s an issue of whether or not a Christian may or may not use certain words. The issue is whether it’s beneficial to do so. I’ve heard people use the argument that, “I just want to be authentic with people”. That’s all well and good, and I understand it to some degree. If being authentic means that there is no discernible change between a Christian’s life and someone elses though, I think people start to wonder what is the real difference.

Can we serve others and talk like a sailor? Maybe. Does it make it harder or easier for people to see Christ in us? I don’t know. I guess it’s a decision we each have to come to terms on in our own lives.

99   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 10:20 am

Wow. If cursing makes you care about dying children it suggests the absence of power both in the listener and the speaker. Tony Compolo is a great speaker, but not a great preacher.

100   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:21 am

Rick,
Different? OK. How different? Using that practical argument, one could speak King James English and claim that all who don’t aren’t obeying the biblical mandate to have “different speech”, no?

I don’t agree that there are words that we all should agree are inappropriate (I notice you didn’t say sinful … any reason why?) My great grandfather would routinely say the word “shit”, and to him, it was an honest description of what he had just stepped in. Ask him why he feels like he has to use “that word” and he’s say “well, that’s what it is!”

“A rule of thumb, if there is a question avoid it, after all, it’s not like we’re sacrificing food and clothing or being burned at the stake.”

That kind of thinking breeds legalism. I’m sorry it just does. Legalism’s best friend is ambiguity. Thus my call for an objective way to determine how to speak.

Essentially, you’re basically telling me to let culture (evidently the “majority” of culture) decide for me what is and is not acceptable to say. Correct?

101   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 10:27 am

Nathan. This is some of the most foolish reasoning I have ever heard. “Can I please have a list of all the words I shouldn’t say?”

Paul – that is not what he asked. He asked for the objective means by which to determine ‘offensive’ from ‘non-offensive’.

Where this gets to be an issue is not with “the big 7″, but with the ‘borderline’ words (like “crap” or “sucks”) that get added to the list, more often than not by Christians. Borderline words which are then singled out by other Christians, eager to point out specks while missing their own boards.

102   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:29 am

Paul C.
Yeah, OK. I guess it is a bit foolish for a born again believer to actually want to know what does and does not please God, then go to other born again believers to try to discern what does and does not please God.

If that makes me a fool, the guilty as charged.

Again, your call for ambiguity is ripe for legalism. You’re basically telling us that something is wrong, and not to question why it’s wrong. Then when someone does question it, they’re called a fool.

I’m not asking for a specific scripture that condemns the big 7. I know that the Bible works off principles for the most part. The problem is, when you say a specific thing is a sin because of a specific principle, you don’t get the luxury of assumption. You have to objectively show how that particular action violates that principle.

So far, you have not. Thus, people like Chris L can reasonably conclude that using words in the context he wrote above is not a sin. No reasonable argument has been made to show that the usage there violated any principle.

103   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
November 19th, 2007 at 10:29 am

Nathan said:

Legalism’s best friend is ambiguity.

I’d be interested for you to elaborate on that a little bit more. To me, legalism is an attempt to get rid of all ambiguity. The legalist is uncomfortable with the fact that the Holy Spirit is able to work differently with different people in different circumstances, and tries to make a formula for everything.

It seems that Jesus did many things that were purposely ambiguous (is that an oxymoron?), and frustrated people’s attempts to paint Him into a corner. It seems to me that a desire for perfect objectivity and legalism go hand in hand.

104   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 10:30 am

Nathan,

No – it is up for you to decide how to be a witness to the people you come into contact with. In our present culture, I see that it would be more difficult to show Christ-like differentiation without having a difference in language.

That is not legalism. Legalism occurs when you expect everyone else to meet your standard.

105   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:34 am

Chris L,
I happen to agree with you man. If a word is used both to intentionally and unnecessarily offend someone, then it’s safe to say it’s probably wrong to use.

People need to jump off this “coarse joking” train, because there are plenty of other places in the Bible that give a better perspective on what should and should not come out of the mouth of believers.

The offense passage, the love your neighbor passage, are much better at getting to the root of the language issue.

106   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 10:34 am

People who require proof about things like this highlight the fact that they have little understanding about the actual message of the Bible.

For example, I could be ignorant and ask you to provide me with a scripture that specifically speaks against the smoking of marijuana – specifically. We could debate and debate all day and never conclude anything.

Paul C,
If you weren’t in lock step with watchdoggies on this issues the chief guard poodle Ken Silva would release a miss-ive calling you a mystic.

I’d suggest if your argument is that you “just know” then you’re probably not setting scripture as authoritative. Chances are you’re setting your culture up as authoritative.

1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:1-5

107   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 10:36 am

Wow. If cursing makes you care about dying children it suggests the absence of power both in the listener and the speaker. Tony Compolo is a great speaker, but not a great preacher.

Rick,

I would agree with the latter sentence heartily.

Standing alone, I agree with your first one, as well. However, I heard this example (not from Campolo, but from an incredibly straight-laced preacher growing up) as part of a sermon on the balance between personal holiness and loving your neighbor (which was at the heart of the story of the Good Samaritan).

I thought that it worked effectively and was not gratuitous. While I don’t know if he got any complaints after the message, my dad (an elder in the church) didn’t get any calls (or at least ones I heard about), and he didn’t get tossed out on his ear for probably saying that word the only time it’s been spoken in that church…

108   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 10:37 am

Tim – I did not say I would not take a sister’s feelings into consideration, I said the Scriptures trump any and all of our personal feeling either pro or con. The person that posted that “song” is the one who took no ones “feelings” into consideration.

I’d disagree. He clearly posted a language warning. If there were no consideration of others he wouldn’t have posted it.

109   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:37 am

“That is not legalism. Legalism occurs when you expect everyone else to meet your standard.”

Exactly right! And the people who condemned the song are expecting others to meet that standard, which as you said, is a personal standard.

I’m pretty much saying that it’s not ok for people to write blog posts to condemn certain language, then not be able to provide any proof that the language used is sinful. There’s a disconnect there.

110   nc    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:39 am

I don’t agree that all conduct bears on our witness.
Again, I’ve never seen someone “come to Jesus” because I didn’t have the occasional drink, etc.

111   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 10:41 am

Do we allow our children to use these words? Why not if they are just expressions within a cultural context? Everyone has a subjective list that they do not use and teach their children to avoid. Why?

The New Tesament gives many commands based upon cultural issues and Paul commends us to be sensitive to those issues even if we believe we have liberty. Although the Scriptures do not give a list of objectionable movies, it does say not to put any evil thing before our eyes. So to go to a movie that portrays graphic sex scenes is sin. That is not legalism, that is practical sanctification.

112   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 10:44 am

Do we allow our children to use these words? Why not if they are just expressions within a cultural context? Everyone has a subjective list that they do not use and teach their children to avoid. Why?

Are you seriously suggesting that anything not meant for a child’s consumption or use is sinful?

Go read Why Men Hate Church sometime. Dumbing down everything church related to a child’s level is part of the reason why.

113   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:44 am

NC,
Good point. Also consider that many of the cultural stigmas (ie, people thinking it odd that a Christian would drink or cuss) are of our own doing.

For centuries we harped against these things, which may or may not have been wrong all along, and eventually we got a “reputation”.

At some point, wouldn’t it be a good idea for good Christians to reverse this stigma?

I mean, we can drive the same cars as you, listen to the same music as you, why not say the same words and drink the same beverages as you? I don’t think anyone would disagree the first two are ok to do, so why not the last two?

Just asking…

114   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:47 am

Rick,
Gotta go with Tim here. I wouldn’t give my kids adult medicine, but that doesn’t mean it’s a sin. They wouldn’t cuss because they don’t have the capacity to know when and why to turn it off.

Again, not to patronize you, but that is another appeal to intuition.

115   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 10:50 am

nc,

I don’t agree that all conduct bears on our witness.

Discipleship is not knowing what your teacher knows – it is being what your teacher is to the best of your ability.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.

People will always be watching – whether you want them to or not. Every decision you make is a spiritual one. That is not to say that taking one course of action – based on your own leading by the Spirit – will lead people to Christ or not. Nonetheless, we have no way of knowing which actions “bear on our witness” and which do not, so it behooves us to be careful, erring on the side of caution rather than liberty – without condeming others who decide differently…

Again, I’ve never seen someone “come to Jesus” because I didn’t have the occasional drink, etc.

No, but I know a good number of unbelievers who don’t belong to a church because they see ‘hypocrites’ who say one thing and do another. This is why Paul warns us about exercising our freedom in Christ in such a way as to not lead others to stumble. So, in one contextual setting it may be perfectly acceptable for you to drink, but in another it would not be so…

116   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
November 19th, 2007 at 10:52 am

I would strongly disagree with the music concept as well. The reason Nathan is asking for “proof” of what he can’t and can do is because he is simply being rebellious. The type of people who have to make an impact with shock-and-awe, endless debates that spiral continuously downward and with no bottom.

Nathan, just continue cussing, listening to ungodly music and doing everything the world does in your efforts to win them over. All the best.

117   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:55 am

“There are some who have no understanding to hear the truth of freedom and insist upon their goodness as means for salvation. These people you must resist, do the very opposite, and offend them boldly lest by their impious views they drag many with them into error. For the sake of liberty of the faith do other things which they regarded as the greatest of sins… use your freedom constantly and consistently in the sight of and despite the tyrants and stubborn so that they may learn that they are impious, that their law and works are of no avail for righteousness, and that they had no right to set them up.

Martin Luther

118   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 10:58 am

Paul C,

I would strongly disagree with the music concept as well. The reason Nathan is asking for “proof” of what he can’t and can do is because he is simply being rebellious.

Quit adding to scripture Paul.

Or pretending you know what Nathan’s heart is. Its unbecoming.

119   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:58 am

Paul C,
Ah yes, that’s it!!! I’m just rebellious! You caught me!

Seriously, you prove my point yet again. You set up things as sin, dare anyone to question them, then call them names if they do, call in to question their sincerity, and label them as a rebel.

Sad.

120   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 11:30 am

I think part of this conversation is actually mixing two questions, and mistaking the first for the second:

Question #1: Can you be a Christian and still swear?

I suppose so, as I don’t see that as an integral requirement of the gospel. In fact, it may have been partly in Paul’s mind when he wrote:

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

This gets to where I think that it is contextual sensitivity that matters most in our speech, and not a strict list of “good words” and “bad words”.

Question #2: Can you be an effective Christian witness and still swear?

In this culture, I think this would be much more difficult. I can also think that there are unbelievers and baby Christians who might be turned away by this behavior. If this happens, then I think we ought to keep Jesus’ warning in mind:

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Keeping that in mind, I find that the Apostle Paul’s advice in this matter is probably best:

“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Once again – context, context, context – let your speech be beneficial and constructive. Even though it is permissible to use un-constructive and un-beneficial speech, we should always strive for the good of others…

121   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 11:33 am

The answer to question #1 is of course.

The answer to question #2 is maybe.

The other pertinent question is can a Christian swear without remorse and please God?

That answer is no.

122   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 11:42 am

The other pertinent question is can a Christian swear without remorse and please God?

That answer is no.

Actually, I think that the answer to this question is “maybe”, as well, since the defintion of “swearing” is highly subjective.

To wit:

If I am preaching that belief in any way to God except through Jesus is “damnable heresy”, and my use of “damn” (which many consider a swear word, regardless of context) offends an octogenarian in the pew, is their offense at my use of a “swear word”, therefore displeasing to God?

I think I’ll stick with the first two questions and leave the third one as a sub-question of #2 and let God, His Spirit and the individual decide that one…

123   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 11:47 am

Your example of swearing is a disconnect. Swearing is defined as “to use blasphemous or obscene language, usually as an expression of strong feelings or with the intention of giving offense ”
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

To quote the Bible is not swearing.

124   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 11:48 am

My apologies, Rick – I was using “swearing” interchangably with “saying a ‘curse word’”…

125   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 11:49 am

Rick,
Interesting you have to go to the dictionary to show what sin is. As I’ve pointed out before, on this issue the Bible isn’t being used as authority, culture is.

126   Joe C    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:03 pm

You know, with the ammount of arguing and fighting going on here, you’d think someone had said “Jesus is not God”, and we’re all fighting over it.

Instead, we’re arguing about wishy washy words that always change meaning depending on context, and SOME of us are telling others they are not Christian, because they don’t agree with the accusers.

Shenanigans!!!! Shenanigans I tells you.

Either way, this thread of death does serve a purpose as I have learned much about perspective, context, and even seeing some Scriptures in new light.

I think everyone is making very good points, from all sides, which makes me think very hard about if anyone can be 100% correct about this issue except for God?

If everyones arguments and justifications are just as good as the next guys, then maybe it’s not the huge issue we are making out of it afterall.

I’m reminded of 2 verses:

“The first to present his case seems right,
till another comes forward and questions him.” Prov.18:17

“Your word, O LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.” Ps.119:89

God knows His Word perfectly, but we don’t. That’s why we need to be merciful with each other, and submit to the Spirit who leads us.

Good talk ladies and gents,

Joe

127   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 12:03 pm

Tim – the Bible is transcultural and is applicable in all culturals. Let us assume a new language is formed, and somewhere down the road a man makes up a word that is supposed to be a demeaning reference to the natural sex act. After many years it is not used in medical circles or scientific realms, only as a demeaning word that now has been stretched to generally demean anything.

It has become so offensive that public media blocks it and you can even be arrested for using it or wearing it in some settings. It has become a universal and culturally accepted form of obscene language. The word is “guph”.

Now the Bible of course doesn’t list this word as offensive and doesn’t specifically forbid its use. But the overall teachings of Scripture and the wisdom of the Spirit should give us all an insight into God’s will for the believer in any cultural setting. The principle is not ambiguous, only the application, hence the necessity of being filled with the Spirit and Godly counsellors.

Tim – In some cultures men wearing shorts is considered taboo, so that isn’t Biblically taboo but wearing them would be wrong for the missionary. Cultural issues are important.

128   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:04 pm

All this, yet still, proves the point that using the “coarse joking” or “corrupt communications” verse to condemn “cuss words” is futile.

There are much better passages that deal with our actions in light of their cultural consequences.

It would be nice if the people who are convinced certain words are wrong would just say outright that they get their definition of “bad words” from the culture, and be done with it.

All I am trying to prove is that the Bible makes no clear distinction on what words are good/bad, therefore neither should we … at least not while claiming the Bible supports us. It obviously doesn’t.

129   Joe C    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Rick,

I’m offended by your use of profane language, the G-word is highly derrogatory to my peoples.

You sinner you.

LOL!!

Joe

130   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Rick,
SO what you’re saying is that culture is king here, and as the culture changes, we should change too. So words that once were taboo no longer are.

If that’s the case, then why are you trying to preserve what is only cultural? You might as well picket electricity.

131   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Joe,
Freakin’ AMEN!!!

132   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 12:10 pm

Actually, this discussion we’re having was parodied a bit by athiest author Douglas Adams in “Life, the Universe and Everything” (the third book in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” 5-book trilogy), in which the word most reviled througout the universe was “Belgium”, and yet the backwards earthlings named a country with this swear word…

133   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:12 pm

FWIW, I am not Nathan Neighbor.
In case there was any confusion.

134   Paul Carley Ireland    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:15 pm

I tried really hard to read all the thread but it appears to repeat itself. We are should al be adult enough to know what constitutes an old fashioned idea of manners. To be “offensive” just because I can does not display a christian heart. If there are octengenarions in your audience respect them for who they are, honour them for the years they represent. Perhaps like Paul we need to be careful not to use our liberty as a cloak.

135   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 12:16 pm

Very funny Joe!

Time – no, culture is queen.

136   Nathan    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:17 pm

In case anyone wants to see a true example of how a Christian ought not to speak, look no further than this new post:

“The link to this post, penned by a pastor, clearly shows you the rotten fruit produced by the semi-pelagian i.e. man-loving new evangelicalism and its sick counterpart the emerging church you are now witnessing swallowing your church youth groups.”

Yup.

137   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 19th, 2007 at 12:22 pm

The lies begin in the very first sentence. How dare he call himself those names!

Also notice the lack of research. Nathan Neighbours didn’t write that. How long until we get an apology?

Ken Silva, stop the lies, for once.

138   Joe C    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Rick, of course I meant no offense, nor to cut at you, just to be a little satirical.

And Nathan, I saw that post too, and it put a really bad taste in my mouth, especially since Mr. Silva did not participate in the discussion at all, nor do I think he read any of the wonderful points that have been made here. He basically just quote mined Nathan, and used it to tear him down.

Isn’t that the opposite of Ephesians 4???

Joe

139   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Rofl!!!

Apparently in Ken’s zeal to smear and slander, he did the normal amount of “research” conducted by CR?N (which is to say, none) and mistakenly identified “Nathan” as Nathan N (once again as a way to get his McManus Google-juice)… (though I would suggest that perhaps you include your last initial, Nathan R…)

Anyone want to take bets on whether he will ever print an correction to his miss-ive?

Thankfully, though, in his own writing, Ken has provided us a perfect example of the type of cursing and legalism we should not be engaged in, as Christians…

140   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Joe – I really thought it was funny! I have humor even for a fundamentalist.

141   nate    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:38 pm

I normally go by “nate” here, but since I went by “Nathan” over at Mike Ratliff’s blog, I felt it would have been best to stay consistent.

Still though …

OK, I’m officially “nate” now.

142   Joe C    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Hey me too Rick, me too. I always considered myself ‘fundamental’, by the definition of the word. I can’t see how Christians can’t be fundamental lol.

lol sweet.

Joe

143   Joe C    
November 19th, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Chris,

Betting is a sin. Unless your culture dictates otherwise. Or maybe it transcends culture. I bet 3 swears he disregards any mistakes he made. So now I’m doubly sinning….betting AND swearing….like…together…man….woah.

-brain pops-

Joe

144   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Well,

Seems like an almost-correction was issued, translating:

“It’s their fault (they confused me with all of their Nathans)! My complaint still stands (and I still get to mention McManus), because Nathan N. wrote an article I disagreed with last week.”

And they will know we are Christians by our love for one another…

145   nc    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Chris L,

I agree about Hypocrisy.
The difference is I never signed on to or promoted a “don’t drink, don’t cuss, don’t chew, or go with girls who do” version of Christian witness. I’m not a hypocrite. thus my witness does not hinge on these non-essentials, but on the love i show my neighbor. (Not always good at it, but I am free to focus on that.)

I may be a disappointment to other people because of their own assumptions, but I never present myself as anything other than who I am–good, bad, ugly. Anyone who thinks I’m flouting what I “know to be true” really set themselves up for failure.

To some other things on this thread:

1. NO ONE is advocating for gratuitous, devil-may-care approach to language. To characterize this as otherwise is a failure to listen or just dishonest.

2. What is being advocated was a more discerning, wisdom driven approach that understands that words in themselves cannot be ontologically evil. They are driven by culture–the culture of your audience, setting, context.

3. Welcome to reality…we have a cultural that is pluriform in almost everyway. Thus what works in one segment, might not work in another. That’s not being relativistic, but being in touch with reality. You can’t play baseball effectively with a football or a polo stick.

4. THUS…no advocacy for cussing in the pulpit is in order. That’s not hypocrisy, that’s called being consistent with #2. It’s the audience.

5. NO ONE has made the case as to why this is such a deal breaker for people. No one. It’s the millionth time I’ve asked/stated this. Whine, whine about compromise. Never use a “naughty word”, but be in bed with fear driven, anger driven fake faith, a middle class social respectability posing as discipleship and a particular political party and you’re a perfect candidate for church leadership. It just goes to show a lack of proportion and seeing this for what it really is.

6. btw, Who cares if my freedom to speak the language of a friend and have a couple beers with them is offensive to you? You weren’t there and it didn’t involve you, but it did put me in touch with a person who was so turned off to the controlling hypocrisy of christians. They love Jesus now, you can’t judge that. Sorry. You just can’t. if it bothers you, leave it God. It’s on His plate, not yours.

7. Therefore, if we (who feel the freedom on this issue) refrain in front of you, thus respecting your sensitivity/conviction, it should end there. To demand conformity in all places and times to one particular understanding of a wisdom issue is not ok. period. In fact, you should be thankful for the love and respect of Christian brothers who desire connection with you driven by love and deference. That is the extent to which I submit to you, but no farther because you would violate my conscience. It should cut both ways.

8. Don’t judge people and then accuse them of judging you because they won’t agree with your personal application of wisdom issue. It’s called disagreement, not judging. It’s not an attack. Nobody is acting shocked about your “christianity” because you don’t cuss. But some people are doing the reverse.

9. I think it is regrettable that Pastor Silva lies.

10. Eat more spam.

11. Everyone should join facebook

12. check out pandora.com

13. Love to all. (Like that? on #13?)

146   nate    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:22 pm

The update is hilarious!

He accuses the author of this site of “not addressing the point” in the email, while he himself completely missed the point of the statement he quote me on!

I just can’t help but laugh!

147   nc    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Let’s Bless people today!

Happy Thanksgiving to Pastor-Teacher Silva and friends!
May you, Steve, Ingrid and all your colleagues, editors, contributors have a blessed day with your families!

148   nc    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Did you get an email too, Nate?

149   nate    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Nope … sorry I was unclear. He mentioned in his update that the authors of this site sent him emails informing him he was incorrect in his “research”, but he said that in the emails he got, the senders didn’t address the issue itself (the issue, of course, being that we don’t all just agree with him and never use any of the words he says are wrong).

I just thought it funny … pot and kettle, ya know?

150   Joe C    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Can someone explain what “pt and kettle” means to me?

151   nc    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:53 pm

Well…
a Pot used over an open fire is usually blackened by use.
A Kettle over the open fire also could get a bit blackened as well.

For the Pot to call the Kettle black is a idiomatic phrase describing irony, lack of self-awareness and a bit of hypocrisy.

Similar to the Christian idiom:

Plank, speck.

get it?

eat spam.

152   Joe C    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:55 pm

I do get it…and I LOVE SPAM.

But the ham kind, not the email kind.

Special Ham!

Joe

153   nc    
November 19th, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Musubi in Hawaii ROCK!

154   T.J.    
November 19th, 2007 at 5:30 pm

SIGH……….MORE JUSTIFICATION…………..this crowd of christianity would have us belive Jesus was a swaggering, swearing, drinking good ole boy who could cuss up a storm at “those religious Pharisees”. He was the Son of GOD…..unplug your ears from your own voices yakking in your heads, emergents. If HE was a gutter mouth, then what hope do the rest of us have? But my Jesus was NOT a cussing alcoholic.

I have seen with my own eyes an Assembly of God Church use movie clips from rated R movies with the f-word to teach the WIld at Heart book. The youth pastor a while later got up dressed in the matrix trench coat and use video clips and used the word S U C * S….when I questioned my pastors about this they thought there was no problem with it…..I said you are taking the PROFANE and bringing it into the HOUS OF GOD……..they did not see it that way……………..

GUESS WHAT? I SAY AGAIN GUESS WHAT?

That head Pastor’s wife left him after 22 years of marriage and his son the youth pastor’s preaching ops went OUT THE WINDOW……lives shipwrecked and crashed upon the shore…..

oh blame the church…we’ve been abused by the church…we’ve been burned….blah blah….

NO WAY…..YOU BROUGHT DOWN YOUR OWN LIFE BY MAKING A MOCKERY OF A HOLY GOD……

and all of the so called pastors on this blog don’t think your “ministry” will be exempt…..ORU is shipwrecked…..Paula White.,….decimated….Juanita Bynum…tattered….TBN a literal mockery……Joyce Meyers, Creflo…word of faith types….ON THE ROPES…..

the EMERGENTS will not fare any better….God is cleaning HIS HOUSE and if you’re not the real deal you’ll roll off the shelf into apostacy or scandal.

So keep on cussing and drinking and smoking your hookahs and running hard on the gerbil wheel of truth……

I pray the LORD JESUS vindicate His own name

155   nc    
November 19th, 2007 at 5:37 pm

God bless you, Tamela.
Have a great T-giving!

156   nate    
November 19th, 2007 at 5:59 pm

TJ,

That head Pastor’s wife left him after 22 years of marriage and his son the youth pastor’s preaching ops went OUT THE WINDOW

Please.

SIGH……….MORE JUSTIFICATION…………..this crowd of christianity would have us belive Jesus was a swaggering, swearing, drinking good ole boy who could cuss up a storm at “those religious Pharisees”.

Nope. Sorry.

He did drink though. Go read your Bible. He never got drunk.

He also cleared out the temple, twice …

Did he “swear”? No clue, because the Bible doesn’t say. But then again, your definition of cussing and mine may be a bit different. Hence the futility of condemning certain words as evil/sinful based on culture. He very well may have said words that his culture thought were bad to say. But you can’t say whether or not he did. (John 21:25)

157   nc    
November 19th, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Tamela,

Do you think women should teach men?

158   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 19th, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Tamara,

Apparently you weren’t paying attention, but just LOOKING for SOME of your own…

Whatever…

159   T.J.    
November 19th, 2007 at 10:39 pm

no..not looking for attention….the whole” to cuss ” or “not to cuss ” is just a tired old debate. It should be a a no brainer..but it’s not…men want to please their flesh. So use the F word and “feel cool”….yeah….get your ear punched through with a mallet and an ear- ring and feel like you’re a ’slave to Christ’…get two arms full of tatt sleeves and tell us how you’re “witnessing” with them… it’s all just outer show just like an old Pentecostal woman with her hair in a bun. You’re just like her… only with more SHOCK VALUE…although she could probably spend MUCH MORE time in prayer than those short emergent attention spans would allow your crowd.

5 minutes of prayer….time to pop in a movie or start gaming now…..!!!!!!!!!!

160   Sherry C.    http://CRN.InfoandAnalysis
November 20th, 2007 at 8:31 pm

The songwriter himself posted a language warning. He at least knows what is offensive language or he would not have bothered to warn anyone. Nathan, since Holy Spirit convinction isn’t good enough, perhaps you could go back to the song and write down those words for your list. It will be a good start for you. And you will be in agreement with the songwriter.

161   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 20th, 2007 at 8:57 pm

Sherry,

The point is that there IS NO LIST. While we are free to use whatever language we may without affecting our salvation, we should not flaunt our freedom in ways that might affect our witness.

It is when we lose sight of this and try to make up rules for God that we fall into the trap of legalism, forgetting that we have been set free…

Are there any words which are ontologically evil? No – none are identified within scripture, nor do we have an indication of such in scripture. Because the culture has defined certain words as “strong language”, we need to be sensitive to this for the purpose of our witness – not for the purpose of demonstrating our salvation (or lack thereof). Indeed, this is a ‘moving target’, which is why we should not be trying to set it in stone – nor should we lord our adherence to (or freedom from) this list over each other…

Good grief – can’t we let this die?

162   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
November 20th, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Chris L,
Legalists and modern Pharisees can’t let it go because they’ve added it to the work of Christ. The language issue has been elevated by them to the same status as the resurrection or the deity of Christ.

163   nate    
November 21st, 2007 at 12:30 am

the songwriter posted that because the language may be too much for some people … it might be offensive to them … not because it is sin.

The issue of language is relative … not absolute. And as Chris L said, it has way more to do with our witness than our offending God.

Therefore, I don’t have a list. Neither should you. And that means that you can’t go around the blogosphere scolding people for using certain words. If you really believe it’s up to the Spirit, then let handle the lectures.

164   Rev Enue    
December 24th, 2007 at 12:20 pm

coo coo

165   sarah    
January 3rd, 2008 at 6:11 pm

I think you boys are missing three giant points. 1) language definition, 2) how those definitions impact one’s own generation, and 3) what Scripture says about that impact.

1) if I make up a word say for instance “purgy” and my generation acknowledges it to mean something vile and is put into the “strong language” category, then there is nothing you can do to change that meaning even though it is a made up word. The made up word is not evil because you made it up, but the fact that it now has a vile definition changes the nature of the word from a meaningless and non-offensive word to being vile. Now it has impact on the generation which understands its meaning. Anything that is vile in nature will have negative outcomes. Those negative outcomes present themselves in two ways. Either the negative outcome offends the person to whom it was directed thus causing sin or the negative out is a hilarity or joke amongst a group of people who think vileness can be funny in which case they are glorying in their shame…their sinning. How do we know this is true? Through Bible text. The Bible isn’t going to give you a list of words which are “bad” words because as I have already pointed out words come and go as do their definitions. The Bible teaches principles that can be used in all situations. The Bible teaches us to set our minds on things above and not on things of this earth. What does this mean? Well, it doesn’t mean not concentrating on our jobs, families etc, but instead on things that are contrary to God. It also tells us to admonish each other in the things of God which wouldn’t include vile things. There are many other such Scriptures which teaches us this principles of speaking in an edifying manner. So you see, God didn’t need to make a list of “bad” words because He in His wisdom knew that principles are constant and can be applied to our ever changing world especially to our ever changing world of language. Also, remember that Paul said that if eating meat offended someone he wouldn’t do it in front of them for that would be sinning. So even if you don’t agree with what I have said then surely Paul’s example of how you are to treat other brethren must be a guide to which you must adhere. Anyway you slice it you’re sinning and must repent.