Profanity in Christian Music

You might be surprised to find out that profanity has been a thing in Christian music for about ten years. What should not surprise you are its defenders and the reasons they employ. You will find the same kind of people wherever there is a compromise to be made, whenever holding up a standard is hard or exposes them to ridicule. They are the jellyfish swimming with the banner, “When in doubt, sell out.”

First, they shout about context. I wasn’t aware that there was a context that allows what Colossians 3:8 describes as “obscene talk from your mouth”. So, the argument from context is null and void.

Second, they claim that profanity is not cursing, and so it doesn’t count. This is a disingenuous point, for Scripture tells us to avoid both. For the former, again, we must not employ “obscene talk from your mouth.”

Third, you have the general principle – “the love of Christ constrains us”. Fundamentally, making Christian music is not about looking cool, being on stage, having skills, or anything else. It is about Christ. Therefore, He is preeminent and guides what we say and what we do. If you are a Christian and you make music, you are under the same sovereignty as any other Christian. You don’t get a golden ticket or a lanyard with a badge that gives you the right to speak like the sewer, sleep around, hate people, or do other ungodly things. I think here is where it really hits home. Musicians are not above other believers. They are not an exempt class of special people. No, you have to walk by the Spirit like the rest of us. You don’t have get to gratify your flesh because you have the gift of music.

Fourth is the argument that “this is against legalism”. One of the greatest teachers against legalism is Christ Himself, and look at the moral standard he set. Yes, none of us can live up to it unaided, but the idea that truth and behavior can be severed is one that He forever laid in the dust. He died for us and he sent the Holy Spirit – our strengthener and helper – to guide us into all truth. We are called to be holy. We are called to discard even the garment that is stained with the flesh (Jude 2:23). So, to be against legalism is to be as Christ – holy.

Before anyone accuses me of legalism, yes, I believe in mercy and forgiveness especially for those who are learning. Yes, we need to give encouragement and not condemnation our brothers and sisters. However, we are never called to abandon holiness to fit in with the dying. I see a lot of surrender of standards for the sake of popularity, for the sake of relevance, for the sake of impact – all of which reveal a fundamental failure of faith. Who steers the king’s heart where he wishes? Who knew us before we were born? Who put the stars in their paths and set the wells of the deep? God is in control; not us. It’s not upon us to be popular or to make it happen. We have to be faithful and He will work it out.

So we should be faithful and raise the standard high, and not adopt the moral standards of those who do not know God. If we do that, what separates us from the world? How does the world know we are different? Sacrificing our witness in order to be heard robs us of anything worth saying. This whole debacle is just another example of Christian music being too much about music and too little about Jesus.

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6 Responses to Profanity in Christian Music

  1. Honestly, this is completely new to me. I had no idea that this existed as I don’t listen to contemporary Christian music. This is just really disturbing. I would ask for some examples of songs, but I don’t want to seem like I’m promoting this sort of thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poster says:

      Norma Jean is a place to start, unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe that instances of profanity would be found in bands and artists sitting on the fence who do not really identify with the label ‘Christian Music’. It’s kinda like an excuse to be a “clean” version of secular bands. But like you said, it really isn’t all that “clean”. I personally prefer the more mainstream Christian music that actually identifies with the label.


      • Poster says:

        Good point. It allows the cowardly some cover. “See? We’re not those Bible-thumping rednecks! We actually say *&*&! and (*(*!” *shaking my head*

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Derek Webb (of Caedmon’s Call) used some profane words in his very angry song complaining about the Church opposing homosexuality.
    Hillsong used “Hell” as a profanity in a song.
    Rock group P.O.D. & rapper Andy Mineo come to mind.
    Kirk Franklin did an album with Kanye West that has a lot of profanity.

    Profanity is often referred to as “mature” language. Yet we’ve all heard children use these words. Are these kids more mature than their peers? Hardly. It is immature language because:

    –People who use profanity are on a level with someone who passes gas in a crowded elevator. As long as he gets some giggles, he doesn’t care whom he bothers.

    –Cussers usually don’t even use profane words according to their definitions.

    –Cussers often trivialize and disrespect the names and titles of the awesome and wonderful Lord of Lords.

    I don’t misuse the names of your loved ones; please don’t do so to the one I love more than anyone else.

    What about “Christian cussing”?
    Do you use slang words that were invented for the sole purpose of sounding like the cuss words you condemn?
    I used to, but God convicted me about it, and I made an effort to stop.
    At first it was an effort–I actually had to think of ways to express myself properly.
    Now it is no effort at all.
    Please consider what I’m saying, and give it a try.


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