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“What about cuss words?”

“What about cuss words?”

AUGUST 5, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / “What about cuss words?”

Steve Brown:
“What about cuss words?” The answer to that and other questions on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
If you think laughter isn’t spiritual or that faithfulness to God means conformity to Christian stereotypes, then this program probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for honest, Biblical answers to honest questions, welcome to Key Life. Here’s our host, author, and seminary professor Steve Brown, along with Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com.

Steve Brown:
Hey Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. How you doing?

Steve Brown:
You know, we very quickly go over a couple of questions before we turn on the microphones and go on the air and we’ve got some great jokes that we can’t tell you as an answer to this particular question.

Pete Alwinson:
I know. Right.

Steve Brown:
And some of them are clean jokes. They, the words aren’t though.

Pete Alwinson:
And we didn’t come up with them. We heard them. People, other people told them, Christians told us.

Steve Brown:
Obviously, we wouldn’t, we’re ordained. We wouldn’t do something like that.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Wouldn’t do something like that. That’s Pete Alwinson and he comes in on Fridays and we answer questions. And we do, and I mean this, we take you and your question seriously. You can dial 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, record your question. Or you can send it to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
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in Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

or you can e-mail us at [email protected] And if you can help us financially, those would be appropriate places you can touch Key Life. And if you can, we’ll appreciate your help a lot. And so will a lot of other people that you touch. And if you can’t, we understand and would ask you to pray for this ministry. Oh, by the way, you can give on your phone. You can text Key Life at 28950 and just follow instructions. And every time you do it, you get three free sins. No, you really don’t. But if you’re a Christian, all your sins are forgiven.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. You get no condemnation for your sins.

Steve Brown:
That’s right. So you ought to give out of gratitude. That’s, that’s good.

Pete Alwinson:
I think so.

Steve Brown:
Pete, before this gets worse, why don’t you pray for us? And we’ll get to these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
All right. Our Holy God, we come into your presence now, just for a minute, on this Friday before this broadcast begins. And Lord we’re so thankful, for your goodness. We honor you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the God who truly does deserve the credit for creating this and the credit for loving us enough to redeem us, planning, eternal salvation for us through Jesus. So, we honor you, all of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we ask that you would speak to us now, even as we do Q&A and ask this time could be a time, where maybe one more step of your grace is understood that can move us forward. Take our issues, our concerns, our fears, and we give those to you right now and ask that you would use this time. We thank you for our leaders, that you have given us in the faith and in the church, that are going to stand before us this week-end. And we ask that you would give them all power and wisdom as they put the final touches on their sermons and worship services. Lord, you would use them in a big way to bring honor and glory to your name, and then to set us freer and freer with the gospel of grace. So, we commit this time to you now of Q&A, and I thank you for Steve, Key Life, and all those that do so much behind the scenes to reach out to your people. We commit these times to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen. This is an e-mail question. What about curse words? Is it a sin? You know, that’s not an easy question cause words change don’t they? You know, when you start talking like this, the thing that would shock your great, great grandmother. is common speech today. So speech really does change and you’ve got to look pretty carefully before you answer that question. And as a matter of fact, and then we’re gonna talk about the question. Scripture is pretty earthy. There are some things in Scripture that have been translated into the English and softened in the English. When in the original, if you read, for instance, Clarence Jordan’s Cotton Patch version of Scripture. And by the way, he had a PhD in Greek, was a Bible scholar as well as being one of the founders of Koinonia Farms and Habitat for Humanity. He was a tremendous man that was used. And when I was in seminary, he was one of the speakers there. And I really learned to love and appreciate him. But when he translated the Cotton Patch version of Scripture, he took away the softening of it in most translations. And you began to see how really earthy Scripture is, but with that being said, this is a serious question and deserves a serious answer. Don’t, it’s best not to, because if you, you know, my mother said, when you use cuss words, it means your vocabulary is inadequate. And there’s probably some truth to that. There’s strong English words that you can use to express strong emotions or strong feelings. And, so I, you know, I just think that it’s probably best and I don’t always follow my own preaching. You know, I cuss and spit a good much, but I’m learning to not do that so much.

Pete Alwinson:
Right. Yeah. You know, it’s interesting how, there is that passage in Ephesians that keeps coming back to me. Right.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word is as good for edification, according to the need of the moment that it may give grace to those who hear.

So, there is a very real sense in which what you just said about your vocabulary. And that passage says that if I’m going to be a, you know, a godly Christ following man, I’m going to probably be a good listener and a processor. So, rather than a quick speaker. And then, Paul says the same thing.

Let your speech always be seasoned, as it were salt, that you might know how to respond to each one.

I don’t always do that. I tend to want to fix things too quickly.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, me too. That’s the bane of a preacher, is we want to fix everything and God doesn’t want us to, you know, with all of this being said, and I agree with every word you said, I do believe that sometimes there are situations, that are so raw and so difficult, that mercy teacups won’t be enough. And I think now, and I think that there are things that express emotions that we would normally call cuss words, that may be good, psychological and even Biblical outlets, for the expression of those emotions. But with all that being said, don’t obsess on it.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right. I agree and then my last word on this is that, as I’ve been reading Psalms and Proverbs over the years, I see the Scriptures in those passages, really using words like wicked and evil, to describe some of the situations, rather than using a cuss word. We could say, you know, that is a real evil thing to do.

Steve Brown:
There are strong English words.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s a strong word. That’s wicked, you know, and I think that maybe we need to call certain things what they are from a Biblical perspective without using curse words.

Steve Brown:
All right. Good. I’m probably more sinful than you.

Pete Alwinson:
No. No, I have to watch that myself.

Steve Brown:
I do too. I have to be careful, you know, and I’d like to say it’s cause I’m so pure and spiritual and nice and want to do it right, but the truth is I want to keep my job. There’s certain things that a preacher simply does not say. Okay. Are images, this is a good question. Are images, pictures, portrayals of Jesus a violation of the second commandment?

Pete Alwinson:
That is a great discussion for the common, for right now cause it really has been an issue throughout the history of the church.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. It really has.

Pete Alwinson:
And I, you know, I grew up with a picture of Jesus standing at the door and knocking and, you know, remember that famous picture.

Steve Brown:
And all of us, if you’ve been watching The Chosen, which is a portrayal of Jesus. Or The Passion of the Christ, which I’ve only seen once. And that’s all I’m going to see cause I knew about it, now I’ve seen it and that’s enough. That is a, that is a haunting movie. Is that a violation of the second commandment?

Pete Alwinson:
I don’t see it as that. I think if it’s a God representation, like the golden calf.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. Right.

Pete Alwinson:
Then I think you’ve got a problem.

Steve Brown:
And if you kneel down in front of it, you’ve got a problem.

Pete Alwinson:
I think that’s right.

Steve Brown:
I think images and art and music and film, can often be ways that God communicates to people. And in a deeply and profound way.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. And as you’ve said in the past, sort of builds a sanctified imagination and how important that is sometimes.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, it really is. So no, second commandment has to do with the kneeling and the worshiping, not the images in themselves. We’re running out of time. So, let me give you a simple question that you ought to be able to answer in a reasonably short period of time. What happens to Christians when they die? They go to heaven.

Pete Alwinson:
They go to heaven.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

I Corinthians 15.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. That’s short. Now, could you expand on that cause we’ve still got another minute.

Pete Alwinson:
Cause we’ve got more time. Yeah. You know, isn’t it great that we don’t have to fear death, you know, the little symbol, Memento mori, remember you will die. The Christian can say, yeah, but remember that you will live forever. And, so heaven, we ought to have a more robust philosophy of death, that it’s not our enemy. We get to be with the Lord.

Steve Brown:
Well, it’s still the enemy because of the sin that’s a part of it, as Paul says in I Corinthians 15, but you’re right, not our enemy, it’s our friend when we’re going to be in a place, where eye has not seen and ear has not heard nor the mind of man conceived what God has prepared. I’m going to have hair in heaven.

Pete Alwinson:
You are. I mean, it’s going to, I won’t even recognize you.

Steve Brown:
And no, that’s right. And I’m going to sing in heaven too.

Pete Alwinson:
You could sing here. You were in our choir.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, but you know, the choir director had to teach me the part. He said that you can’t sing, but if I can teach you the part you’ll make up for three basses.

Pete Alwinson:
You were not out of tune though. You were good. I could hear you.

Steve Brown:
Listen, we’re not going to pursue that any further. In fact, we’re out of here. But first, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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