The Great Language Debate
Posted by justicetabernacle on May 21, 2009
there is a little language debate going on around here.
we are thinking about using a song in services this weekend by derek webb called the ‘wedding dress.’ the lyrics include both the words whore and bastard.
it is always interesting when things like this come up in the church. and to be honest, the last thing i want to do is open it all up for a big long debate. my thing on language in the church is always about putting it through the lens of scripture. so first of all, if a word is actually in the bible… then how in the world could we censor it (of course unless it was not being used appropriately)
what about in our daily lives? here are the new testament verses that i can find, which address the issue:
most of these have to do with the root of the language- Jesus says in matthew 12:34 that out of the heart the mouth speaks…
but they also have to do with a general example of what is pure and correct.
now what pure and correct means, is probably the one thing in this whole conversation that is debatable. my line of discernment usually has to do with the subject matter. if the subject matter is sinful, then speech surrounding it; done in a jovial manner, would be inappropriate- as it would encourage or justify the subject matter. however, the even finer line would be words that are deemed ‘crude’ or ‘filthy.’
the biggest problem in the crude or filthy category probably comes down to the words that describe fecal matter or manure- the word dung or refuse is used throughout the old testament in some very vivid and drastic ways (see 2kings 18:27 and malachi 2:3) and paul even uses it here in philippians 3:8
so if it is alright to refer things that are negative as dung or refuse in the bible, what adaptations of that word are to be approved today? where is the line between dung, poo, crap, and shit?
such struggles we have…
i think this issue boils down to all such grey areas in life- discernment. can we trust that the Lord will help us discern these matters in the different situations of life? what is our default? if you go back and read the entirety of the ephesians passages, it really boils down to the source of your action, speech and living. it’s not really about what words are ok and what words are not- it’s about a greater context of your life.