The use of harsh language by Christians is a hot topic right now. The 2008 Desiring God national conference will focus on the power of words and the wonder of God. On the list of speakers is Mark Driscoll, known in the past as the cussing preacher. He will speak on “How Sharp the Edge? Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words”. I must admit that I have been critical of Pastor Driscoll in the past. He was very instrumental in the beginnings of the emergent movement. He has since scaled back his association with the more liberal members of that group. He also be known to use some very coarse language in the past. I was pleased to find a video for the conference in which he admits that he has gone to far in the past. Check out this video to see his view on harsh language in the Bible.
I don’t know if video of the conference will be available, but I am actually interested to see what he has to say. I think of a couple of things when I look at the Bible. First, I would agree with him that the Bible does use some very strong words at times. There are the examples he mentions, plus many more. With that being said, I think we also need to look at the context and motivation for what was said. These words were not said to draw attention or to make the speaker popular. Many preachers who are using coarse language today, are using it for those very reasons. We also need to remember that the Bible tells us that out of the mouth flows what is our hearts. And that we will be held accountable for every word and deed that we do. There will accounting for every careless word we speak. So, we need to be very careful with the words that come from our mouths. Harsh words need to be saved for religious hypocrites and those who mock the true and living God. And even in those cases we must not cross the line into vulgarity. Pastors especially need to be careful what the speak from the pulpit. They are to be preaching the word of God, and in doing so need to make sure their words bring Him glory.
I have been harsh here at times when dealing with people who are leading others astray. I have at times had to scale back what I really want to say. Not out of fear of offending someone, but out of fear of being a stumbling block for someone. Brad Stine spoke at the Promise Keepers I attended last year. I was not offended by the language he used, but afterward I found out some others were. This became a stumbling block for them enjoying the conference. So, we need to make sure our conversations are not a stumbling block for Christians as well as those who are not Christians.
I am interested to see if any of you have ever been offended by the language of your pastor.