Can Christians Cuss: Conclusions

Can Christians Cuss: Conclusions

I must admit, I didn’t think I would be thinking so long about this topic. I have been probing my mind and talking to quite a few people regarding this topic.

Conclusion 1: Although someone may be at liberty to use a vulgar word to translate skubala in Phil 3.8, this does not mean that it is a license to cuss whenever we would like. The exception does not make the rule.

Conclusion 2: Imagine an evangelist speaking of the glories of heaven and being born again and as he is speaking of eternity and beauty and rest he is inserting vulgar words. There seems to be a natural aversion to such. Indeed, there seems to be an aversion to mix the common with the sublime. This should give those who are Christians pause to utter vulgar (common) speech that would detract from the glories for which you have been bought.

Conclusion 3: This is the more heart-provoking conclusion I have drawn. It is true that meanings of words can change over time. But the issue of cussing goes much deeper than letters and syllables. Indeed, it is from the overflow of the heart our mouth speaks (Mt 15.11,17).

If a Christian has been born again, the old man has passed away and the new man has been put on. Unlike the fool, the Christian does not return to his own vomit. When someone has been born anew, there is a difference in the way they live. There is a difference in the way they speak.

I will look at specific verses soon.

  • Stephen
    Posted at 12:49h, 24 February Reply

    Perhaps the verses where Paul warns about the dangers of our newfound liberty? It would seem to unify all three conclusions; namely that while we are at liberty to translate skubala in that way, it should not only be an action that we should treat carefully as if others’ faith was in the balance. In addition, it should not be something we are attracted to because of the new heart we have in Christ that has none of this language within it.

    Such language would be, obviously, from the old man that we are putting off.

    I don’t know, I’m thinking in terms of already/not yet with that last part.

  • R. Mansfield
    Posted at 13:45h, 24 February Reply

    Coincidentally, I was thinking about this very subject after looking at Col 3:8 recently:

    “Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.”
    (Col 3:5-8 HCSB)

    I quoted the preceding verses as well to give the entire context. “Filthy language from your mouth” (αἰσχρολογίαν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν) is the final element in Paul’s vice list that characterizes worldly living, i. e. living outside of Christ, living as we did before we knew him.

    There are always some that want to disregard language or certain words because profanity can be so culturally conditioned. But if that’s true, I think that as Christians we should respect the standards of our culture and avoid certain explitives. And if I’m in England, I won’t throw “bloody” around as an adjective since (from what I’m told) that counts as fairly strong language there.

  • Matthew Wireman
    Posted at 15:02h, 24 February Reply

    Great points!

    There is a link between all three. That is where I am planning on going with my scriptural observations. I really appreciate your insight into respecting the culture and communicating with our lips what is true of our inner man.

  • Jason
    Posted at 08:47h, 27 February Reply

    I remember back in my freshman or sophomore years of college, some of my InterVarsity or Springdale friends go me to try and quit cussing. It didn’t work. But not because I kept failing and finally gave up. Rather, I was very good at not cussing… didn’t say a d*** word for two weeks! (j/k) But I felt strangely “holier-than-thou,” like I was trying to be this very mature Christian that I knew I wasn’t. And it was frustrating sometimes when I just wanted to let off a little steam, but without being able to cuss at all, I bottled it up. Finally, I was mad as Hades and I wasn’t going to take it anymore, so I cussed — a lot. :)

    After that little experiment, I decided that cussing in moderation, like only when you’re angry or joking around with friends, would allow me to keep in touch with the sinful side of me that didn’t go away just because I had quit cussing. It seems to be one of those things where you can only hold yourself to a standard that your relationship with God enables… and unless you’re a prolific sailor-type of cusser, most of us have far bigger sin to tackle than the occassional cuss word (but that’s from a non-seminarian regular-guy point of view).

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