Paul Tripp – What Makes Bad Language Bad?

I thought this was a helpful discussion, how about you?



  1. Hey Pete, thanks for recommending this.

    To be honest, I’ve been wondering what it will look like for Driscoll, Piper, and Tripp to come together on a conference about words. Interesting stuff. I admit I’m a bit surprised — it sounds like (and I could be wrong) Paul Tripp is condoning using culturally improper words so long as they are intended to edify — i.e. in the way Driscoll does at times. Driscoll’s occasional questionable language is the only thing that keeps me from wholeheartedly recommending him to those I’m ministering to and with.

    For some reason (and I haven’t thought much on this), it strikes me completely different from the question of alcohol. When I’m hanging out with unsaved neighbors and they pass around spiked cranberry juice or champagne or something, I’d gladly enjoy it with them. They may be surprised that their “religious” neighbor drinks, but I think they know there’s nothing inherently bad about drinking. The same goes for enjoying Metallica or Evanescence.

    But if they start cussing and swapping four-letter-words and I join in, I think it cripples my witness because they know it’s disgraceful and improper — that there is something inherently bad or dirty with the language, even if it’s an arbitrary distinction created by our society.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but with enjoying alcohol and heavy metal, it seems like they know it’s not wrong for them (though they may think that my religion prohibits it for me). But with swearing, they know it IS wrong for them, but do it anyway. Am I completely off base?

  2. Wow, I think this is great, and very helpful. I think I’ll pass it on to some of my friends. Thanks for posting this… no arguments here!

  3. @Peter…it’s great hearing from you after so long. I definitely hear where you’re coming from on this. What I like about what Tripp is doing here is that he’s trying to get us to see this from the perspective of positive Scriptural commands. The controlling idea is not whether we’re observing a particular list of words, but rather how we use our mouths to the glory of God. With that in mind, although it might allow some to justify using “culturally improper” language in certain cases, it keeps us from remaining there. How can I achieve the same end (glorifying God, edifying others) in a way that doesn’t distract because of the offense of the particular vocabulary? In other words, it means that swearing really shows a lack of creativity in verbal expression, not an advance.

    Interesting comparison between swearing, drinking and metal. I think I can agree, but I’m not sure why.

    @Ben…I’m glad you found it helpful. thanks for stopping by.

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