Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Pulpit Profanity and Potty-mouthed Preachers

There is a fast-growing phenomenon in contemporary American Christianity that I find disgusting. That is the prevalence of base, vulgar gutter language in modern preaching.

I have encountered a plethora of information and examples of vulgar, potty-mouthed preachers on the internet who are actually quite proud of their “hip,” “cool,” or otherwise “culturally relevant” shock talk.

I know! I know! I’ve heard all the inane arguments of sincere, well-meaning, but seriously flawed thinking that reasons, in order to reach the unchurched, we have to be relatable to them. But that doesn't mean we should grovel in the gutter with them.

That reminds me of the last line of this old song.

"One evening in October, 
When I was one-third sober,
An' taking home a ‘load' with manly pride;
My poor feet began to stutter, 
So I lay down in the gutter,
And a pig came up an' lay down by my side;

Then we sang ‘It's all fair weather 
When good fellows get together,'
Till a lady passing by was heard to say:
‘You can tell a man who "boozes" 
By the company he chooses'
So the pig got up and slowly walked away."

("The Pig Got Up and Slowly Walked Away", 1933 song by Benjamin Hapgood Burt)

I once heard a sermon preached by a youth pastor who must sincerely think that, if he talks like them, the kids will like him better and they will get “plugged in” or “involved,” or “connected” in the youth group. I think he tries too hard to be their buddy.  But they don't need another buddy, they really need him to be their pastor.

About three minutes into his introduction, he used the phrase, "...I would have been pissed..."  There might have been some substance to his sermon but at that point I was disgusted ("pissed!" to use his word), and distracted enough that I missed the rest of his sermon. I won't be listening to his preaching anymore.

That style is not unusual in Neo-evangelical and Emerging Churches. They try to build up their church rolls with programs and marketing techniques that appeal to the natural man rather than simply depending on the exposition of the absolute, authoritative Word of God that has power to change lives. 

When we use those kinds of man-centered techniques to build it, we will have temporary club members as long as we can keep them amused; When God builds it, He builds a strong, healthy, eternal body of regenerated believers and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

I will concede that if we attract enough of the sin-sick world into our churches, some, by the grace and power of God, will get saved by exposure kinda like one catches the measles.  But the church will become sicker with their diseases.

So dear Pastor, please stop the profanity and vulgarity, and show us some reverence.


No comments: