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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sanctified Expletives?

What do you do when a fellow believer cusses at church?

a.) You look for an opportunity to correct or teach about such behavior.
b.) You ignore it, trying to focus more on what they say, than how they say it.
c.) You call him pastor. (If you're in the emergent movement.)

Ok, I couldn't resist the joke, but there's a serious side to the issue as well. Not just with language, but what should our response be when a person does something inappropriate in our prescence? Let me give some examples of things I've heard other pastors being approached about:

--Bad Action. You're listening to a story someone is sharing. They mention how they went off on a teller at a local store because of what they felt was incompetent service. There action was not the main issue of the story, the service was. But do you gently try to instruct the person that they may not have exibited Christ-like behavior to the teller?

--Bad Advice. Someone is telling you about a recent conversation they had with a friend. In the midst of the conversation, they tell you the advice they gave the person. (The advice may or may not have been taken.) The advice may be horrendous (ie. leave your husband so he knows you mean business), but that's not really the person's point. They move on to tell you more about the situation and the action the person took. Do you try to hit pause and get the person to explain why they gave the advice they did? Do you instruct them that their advice is Biblically flawed?

--Bad Theology. This one often comes up when people want to give God credit (or blame) for things He is not responsible. (If I had a dollar for everytime a person has told me they think God is tempting them.) What do you do with that situation? Do you show them how they are bound to give bad advice and take bad actions because their theology is bad? Do you leave the person alone? Do you preach on it soon and hope they are paying attention?

In my tiny brain, here are some thoughts I've had about this:

1. Gentleness, respect and humility must be practiced at all times.
2. Anything "anti-gospel" must be confronted. Whether a believer or an unbeliever, if action, advice or theology is contrary to the gospel message, we have an obligation to highlight the contradiction.
3. Items not contrary to the gospel message should probably be overlooked in the non-believer but addressed with the believer.
4. Situations dictate how the response happens. Is this a repeat offense? Are you close with the person? Are others around? Are they in a position of authority?

Some would argue that things are best left unaddressed. Not only is that about impossible for someone with my personality, I don't see that as a Biblical instuction regarding living in community. We should be sharpening one another. We certainly need to express grace to one another, but I also never want someone to think that my silence condoned their action.

By the way, if you disagree, I just laid out that I think you must comment to tell me so!!!!!!!


  • At 2:59 PM, Blogger jason said…

    Danny, I'm glad you brought this up because I have a few things I've been waiting to talk to you about... just kidding.

    No, good post. So many times I think we let this become a personality issue (or, at least I do) and write off the lack of confrontation to say something like "it just wasn't the right time". And sometimes, its not the right time, but I am all too ready to use that excuse.

  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger Jones said…

    you laugh but my youth pastor at my church did a sermon on "explitives", it was a while back and i think it was about how we need to watch our life doctorine closely... of course it was censored and Benek said "explitive" where a cuss word would go...

  • At 6:04 PM, Blogger RevPharoah said…

    I assume that what we are talking about is "admonitioning" as opposed to "rebuking."

    The first test is the test of love. I must admonish my brother or sister motivated by love. Anything less is less.

    There is also a related test in Ephesians 4:29.
    Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

    "According to the need of the moment" Is this the right time and place?

    "As is good for edification" Will it build the person up of just tear them down?

    "That it may give grace to those who hear" Will it give grace or just communicate judgement?

    "People who love being brutally honest generally like being brutal more than they like being honest.

  • At 11:55 PM, Blogger RevPharoah said…

    "Admonitioning?" What was I thinking? Admonishing is scary enough. Mega-oops.

  • At 3:10 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…


    I know you were kidding, but I would caution you about continually ripping on the emergent movement.

    People in the emergent movement are our brothers and sisters in Christ too. If they want to express their faith differently, why can't they?

    Why should "they" all be labeled as if they are just fad-seekers?

    I would rather see us all give individuals in that movement in Christianity the benefit of the doubt, rather than drawing more lines and saying "we're not like them, because we focus on what really matters.

    I suppose the same goes for Rick Warren, John Eldredge, and Willow Creek. I know that much of the time you're joking, but it can still come across as condescending and camp-drawing - when in reality, we are all serving the same Savior and making disciples.

  • At 4:48 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    I had a seminary professor swear in class, and then tell us that it was a better translation of a Greek word used by Paul. I agree with him, but feel guilty about it. I am confessing that guilt on this blog.

    (note: this entire comment is bogus. I have too much time on my hands)


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