Chuck Swindoll Dropped from Radio Network for “Crude, Vulgar, From the Gutter” Language

Orginally published on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 6:30 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Huh, Chuck Swindoll? Yes that's not a typo. It seems even Chuck Swindoll has been not been able to pass the Christian censors at the VCY Radio Network. Last week, VCY released a statement telling why they have dropped Swindoll from their stations. Among the bad words Chuck has used since 2000 (yes, they've been keeping a tally for 7 years now): buns, heck, crap, balls, and also for mentioning (and encouraging the viewing of) the Lion King.

Here’s part of the release:

“Since 1979 VCY America has aired Insight For Living. Increasingly over recent years, VCY has been concerned about the content and direction of the IFL broadcasts with Chuck Swindoll. Through the years we have had multiple conversations with IFL regarding objections to content in their broadcasts. It is VCY’s position that certain language and illustrations used have been crude, vulgar, and from the gutter and have no place on Christian radio.

While the listing below is not exhaustive, it does give a representation of VCY’s objections that have resulted in the termination of the broadcast.

The decision to bring termination to the IFL program arrived on March 5, 2007. VCY and listeners were highly offended by Chuck Swindoll’s use of crude and uncalled for language. His message was entitled, “Male Leadership 101” which was a presentation given to men at his church. Although a disclaimer was given at the beginning of the program, Swindoll had a sustained laugh as he stated had he known this would be on radio at the time of speaking he probably would have changed things around because he tends to be “a little loose and a little free.” But he says he found “people appreciate that”. The specific area of offense came when Chuck stated:

“The sons of Issachar understood their times, they were men who had discernment and the sons of Issachar were men who had direction. They could make decisions. They saw through all the fluff of that culture. They stood strong when others were fading in the shadows. Patton would say they had guts. You’d say at work, they had balls. Or maybe that’s a Greek rendering of another verse.” (Laughter)

It is VCY’s position that this language is gutter talk, is crude, and vulgar. VCY stated to IFL that such language is uncalled for, is unbecoming a pastor, and is inappropriate for our listeners.

Within moments of this broadcast, a businessman contacted VCY who uses this station as a witnessing tool. He keeps VCY playing in his office so those who visit him will hear. He told VCY he was very upset by this IFL program and if he wanted vulgar language he would put on secular talk radio. VCY can only agree with this anger and frustration.

Knowing this was Part 1 of a message, VCY pre-listened to the March 6, 2007 broadcast. In this message Chuck Swindoll addressed accountability, sensitivity, purity and integrity. These virtues were compromised when he spoke the following:

“The battle still goes on. It will never end. In fact I had my physical the other day and Cooper who has a finger that long (pause and lots of laughter), that long (continued laughter). And while he was up in there said, ‘Now that’s your prostate.’ I said (Swindoll yells) ‘I know that’. Was this anatomy class? (Laughter). He’s a very sick man. (Laughter). Got through prostate, checked out great. I bragged about that to Cynthia about three hours. ‘I’ve got a great prostate.’ She said, ‘get a life, honey.’” (Laughter)

VCY finds it unacceptable to broadcast Chuck Swindoll’s re-counting of the length of the finger of his doctor and describing it in his body while checking his prostate. This is both crude and offensive.

While the issues presented on the March 5th and 6th broadcast brought the ultimate decision to terminate the program, these were not the only concerns VCY has expressed to IFL. Beginning in the year 2000, there was a national boycott of Disney led by the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Southern Baptist Convention, etc. Christian broadcasters all over the country were giving warnings regarding the homosexual promotion such as gay days, gay-friendly issues and other depraved issues being promoted by Disney. While this boycott was going on, Insight For Living took another position. The November 20, 2000 IFL program promoted “The Lion King” (produced by Disney) using it as an illustration. Chuck Swindoll stated on this broadcast,

“Now I could ruin the rest of the story for you, but rather than doing that, I’ll urge you to go down to your local video store and rent for yourself, ‘The Lion King’”.

At that time VCY addressed concern to IFL pointing out that researchers who reviewed this movie stated that the one who anoints Simba as king, was Rafiki, who happens to be a witch doctor. Rafiki carries his magical pack on the top of his staff. Viewers are taught throughout the movie that you can align yourself with witchcraft to overcome evil. It is also pointed out that the movie promotes talking to the dead (necromancy). VCY questioned IFL why they would be promoting Disney when so many Christian ministries were warning against it and were participating in a national boycott. No official response came to VCY’s inquiry, only that “the comment would be passed on.”

On the January 3, 2001 edition of IFL Chuck Swindoll used an illustration of Art Linkletter talking to a boy whose father is a police officer. Art asked if the boy’s mother was bothered by this, the boy responded and Chuck emphasized, “Heck, No!”. A couple moments later Chuck again made great emphasis, “Heck, No!”. VCY contacted IFL stating “heck” is slang for “hell” and that listeners were offended by this. The IFL representative assured VCY they’d pass our comment on.

Again VCY contacted IFL on February 5, 2001 regarding that day’s program. Chuck used an illustration from a regular column he reads from “Sports Illustrated” magazine written by Rick Riley. This particular issue’s column was entitled, “Speaking of Class to the Class of ‘98”. Chuck’s illustration dealt with the topic of “perspective”. Before he read the quote he said, “I won’t read it all, but it’s really worth these excerpts.” The offense came when Chuck quoted this portion of the magazine,

“Be careful with your money, write your own checks, none of this power of attorney crap. Get an agent and a lawyer and tell each, the other is a crook. (Laughter) That’s perspective.”

VCY alerted IFL that day that the word, “crap” is crude, uncalled for and offensive and should not to be used in a Christian’s vocabulary, let alone come from a pulpit and broadcast all over the country. VCY stated to IFL that this term Chuck used did not pass the test of Ephesians 4:29.

On February 11, 2001 a personal meeting was held between members of VCY and those which represent IFL to review the various concerns raised. This was followed up by a personal visit of an IFL representative to VCY in late February of 2001.

On August 23, 2001 again VCY brought to the attention of IFL an offending illustration. On that program, Chuck told of the fun they were having on Ben Yahuda Street in Israel and said,

“One of our men said the funniest things that I heard on the trip. He said, ‘I don’t know what the big deal is about all the clothes people bring with them on a trip.’ He said, ‘I’ve solved the underwear problem. In fact, I now carry 1/4th the underwear I used to carry.’ He was telling us things we really didn’t need to know… He said, ‘Actually you can get four times the wear out of every pair of underwear. So simple.’ And, we of course were hanging on these words wondering what he had in mind. He said, ‘Look, it’s simple: right side out, wrong side out, frontward and backwards. You can just wear the same one for’-I noticed toward the end of the second week, no one was sitting next to this guy. (Laughter) There’s just something about it that turns you off.”

Chuck continued with his clothing illustration to bring the point that “clothing polishes the image, but it doesn’t polish the character.” It is VCY’s position that this illustration had no business being on this national Bible teaching program.

On September 5, 2001 VCY again contacted IFL regarding that day’s program on which Chuck Swindoll calls into question a literal interpretation of Genesis for a six day, 24-hour day creation. On that program he stated,

“On what day did He make the sun? It was the fourth day. So for three full creative days or eras of days, however you might handle that. For three solid periods of time there was light, but there was no sun…But what’s interesting to me is that the light that came upon this earth, for a period of who knows how long, did not come from the sun. Where did it come from?”

In this message IFL called into question a literal six-day, 24-hour day creation. IFL responded that he wasn’t teaching on creation at this point and that his “brief comments are to be taken in the context of an illustration rather than a doctrinal teaching.”

There’s more here (if you really want to read it)...

And a really good response to the press release here...

FOR DISCUSSION:  Any thoughts?  Would you be in favor of a Chuck Swindoll banning and book burning?  What do you think Ingrid says when she hits her finger with a hammer?

This post has been viewed 32841 times so far.

  There are 169 Comments:

  • Posted by Leonard

    I am glad they kicked his buns to the curb for talking so much crap.  It took Balls to do this but like my good friend Simba always says, Heck, If your not just like me your against me. 

    Okay sorry I lost (set aside) all self control for a second.  I am not sure if it is more silly than sad since it is so much of both.  .

  • Posted by missionalgirl

    at first, i thought this was a church humor post....

  • Posted by

    I feel the ones who raised such a fuss over nothing need to lighten up. May be they need to get a life. There is far worst mentioned in the Bible. God even has a sense of humor, he created us. It a shame that people want to try and stop the gospel from going out to help others. i have listened to Chuck for many years and thankfull for men like him that take a stand. Remember what Christ said “he that is without sin cast the first stone” and “if we would get the beam out of our on eyes we could see the mote in our brothers”. So brothers and sister just lighten up and get a life. Pastor Terry

  • Posted by

    The Holy Trinity has been redefined and reconfigured. It is now Father, Son and VCY.

  • Posted by

    I don’t listen to Chuck much, but I have to say, after this post, my opinion of him has much improved.

  • Posted by

    I think that they are stretching this a bit.  Many got on Jesus for his saying if you want to be a part of me you will have to eat my flesh and drink my blood.  If you take Jesus out of context it looks as if he is saying we are to be canibals. 

    They need to get off of their Pharisee complex, and quit judging others.  I sure they have many skeletons in their closets if someone would take the time to open the doors and shuffle their stuff around a little bit.

  • Posted by

    Someone finally speaks in a way that grabs men’s attention and we shut him down.  No wonder men are the fastest disappearing demographic in our churches today.  I listened to that broadcast and was actually inspired towards doing more for the men in my church.  It seems everything we do in church has a woman’s “bent” to it.  I wonder if the VCY would have kicked Daniel out of the bible for dancing in the nude before the Lord, or Paul for describing his former life to be “rubbish” which actually is a reference to “human waste” and the term he used in the Greek was a vulgarity of the day.

  • Posted by Daniel

    Yes, given the apostle’s reference to fecal matter (translations that say ‘rubbish’ are really being gentle), his work should be cut out of the NT as well…
    This is pharisaism, plain and simple.  Talk about straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!!  Of course, this is no occasion to pat ourselves on the back, since we are no better than our brothers and sisters at VCY.  This serves as a reminder for all of us to major on the majors and minor on the minors.  We can afford to loosen up a little, I think.
    My two cents.

  • Posted by

    It makes me sad that VCY has done this.  They are truly the ones who turn people away from the practical message of Christ.  Chuck is a consistent, strong messenger of the gospel. VCY is setting itself up to be labeled as an incredibly hypocritical organization.

  • Posted by

    God has just told me that these guys are right on! Accordingly, in keeping with the example set by that great saint of the church, Marcion, I have just cut every occurence of the term “Shittim” from my Textus Receptus.

  • Posted by

    Good-bye and good riddance. Chuck, it’s sin. It’s not cute. Stop pandering to the lowest common cultural denominator and start preaching Christ without the baggage. It was offense to many, not just the older folks. Scripture tells us not to let any corrupt communication come out of our mouths. Talking about testicles (balls) to describe manhood is disgusting. It wouldn’t be the same if the term was vagina and the reference was regarding. Surely, men of God can preach righteousness and truth without resorting to this. Hey, if Spurgeon could manage, surely Swindoll could.

  • Posted by Linda

    Someone told me I had balls and it was one of the best complements I’ve received.  It’s just a strong word picture.  Maybe his recounting of the examination will save lives by encouraging men to get one too!

  • Posted by clearly

    This is border-line rediculous. How have you folks become so desensitized? I don’t want my pastor to talk like a room of junior highers at summer camp once the lights go out? What’s next, defecation noises from the platform?

    Look, it’s one thing when Paul uses drastic language when speaking of the judaizers, like in Galatians where he says, “I would they were cut off which trouble you...” or more literally..."I wish they would go all the way and emasculate themselves.” There is a right way to make the point. Howver, there is a vulgar way to make the point. If there were a locker-room type term, filled with cultural baggage and crudity, Paul would not have used it. Neither would Paul have encouraged his church to go see a movie filled with vulgar language. Wake up people! He expressly forbids such language…

    And for those of you who mentioned the skeletons in VCY’s closet. Get serious! Who doesn’t have sin in their history? Who’s the pharisee now? We were ALL once darkness, but now we are light...walk as children of light! Give VCY a break, they are just trying to air preachers who speak as though they have been delivered from darkness, not as though they are still engaging in their old lifestyle.

  • Posted by

    Nah, Clearly, the point here is keeping a list of wrongs for seven years and listing things as petty as the Lion King and saying the word “buns”.

    VCY and their ilk are making their living (yes, there is money involved there as well) by slamming other members of the body of Christ.

    Their post this morning at Slice criticized one of their major competitors (Salem Communications) of selling out by cancelling one program in one market.  It seems that they not only have a pulse for what’s going on in their own radio network; but also are in a position to judge the motivations and business practices (not to mention, the spiritual attentiveness) of their competitors (and co-laborers in ministry).

    Ingrid ends her post:  Do not call yourself a Christian radio network unless you intend to program like one.

    OK… here’s a challenge.  One of Salem’s biggest clients/customers/ministries is Grace to You with John MacArthur.  This is a program that is also featured on VCY.  What in the world is VCY doing airing a program that is also being aired on a “christian’ radio network that is not being programmed like a Christian network should be?

    Maybe we should list the names of all the VCY principles, and have them rebuked for such ungodly activity.  Maybe we should DEMAND publically that VCY repent of their sins of association with both John MacArthur AND Salem Communications.

    Sound silly?

    That’s exactly what VCY and Slice and others do on a regular basis.  They did it with Rick Warren and Rupert Murdoch (in what is the most ridiculous case of ‘guilt by association’ that I’ve seen in a while.  And they’re doing it again in this case.  (That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!) smile

    I love what Perry Noble expressed on his blog this morning about critics (especially online ones):

    “Please remember something that Craig Groeschel told me, “Perry–the NORMAL people are not thinking about you.” THAT comment rocked me…normal people do not have attack blogs that do nothing except for spew venom in the name of Jesus.  Normal people who did not attend your church do not care what songs you sang this past Sunday.  Normal people who do not attend your church do not care what you wear.  AND…normal people are not obsessed with every point in your message on Monday…they are more concerned with getting the kids ready for school and getting themselves ready for work.”


  • Posted by Kevin O. Pulver

    You wonder what Ingrid says when she hits her finger with a hammer?
    Did it ever occur to you that true Christians are not “only human”?
    If one is indwelt the the HOLY Spirit of God, we’re supposed to curse involuntarily when confronted with pain? You people need to read Foxes Book of Martyrs, because
    whatever “bible” version you have is apparently so watered down so as to be of little value.  According to Romans 6 and Titus 2, Biblical grace sets a person free from sin- It’s not some sort of credit card for those who love sin but can’t afford the price.

  • Posted by

    I happened to listen to both days of the broadcast and I found them to be both funny and insightful, I did not find them offensive.  You would think with all thats going on in the world this group censering Pastor Chuck could find a little something better to do with their time and energy.

  • Posted by Chris Rhodes

    Dost thou suppose that Rev Swindoll hath gone past the pall of those to whom thou hast appealed? Dost thou imagine that the holy cigar stained lips of Charles Spurgeon where purer than that of our brother? Dost thou not remember the words of The Ipswich Express which said that his sermons were “Redolent of bad taste, vulgar, and theatrical.” Or dost thou not remember the reply of Spurgeon that “I am perhaps vulgar, but it is not intentional, save that I must and will make the people listen. My firm conviction is that we have had quite enough polite preachers, and many require a change. God has owned me among the most degraded and off-casts. Let others serve their class; these are mine, and to them I must keep.” (CHRISTIAN HISTORY Issue #29 (c) 1991)
    Yea, truly thy attribution of sin unto the account of our brother is borne out by the very scripture itself. Hath not the Preacher himself, the learned Solomon chosen to be more circumspect when he did address the proper bodily descriptions in the Song of Solomon chapter 7 and verse 3 when under the divine guidance of the true and living God he wrote that “thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins”. Yea truly a more delicate way to avoid communication that is less than austere, as again he did when speaking to his son in the book of Ecclesiastes about how sexual desires fail when you are old (doth he not even in the Hebrew tongue reference caper berries which wert the ###### of his day) . Perhaps as you have so plainly instructed our brother you were instead reminded of the instruction from proverbs that “dogs return to their own vomit” as a picture of polite and proper speech.

    As Mr. Spurgeon says, ‘A little plain-speaking would do a world of good just now (September 1887 Sword and Trowel)

  • Posted by

    It reminds me of that old proverb:  You’re damned if you do and your damned if you don’t.

  • Posted by

    Kevin wrote:  “You people need to read Foxes Book of Martyrs, because
    whatever “bible” version you have is apparently so watered down so as to be of little value.”

    “You people”.

    Gotta love it.


  • Posted by

    When is the church going to recognise that we are not to be like the culture nor or we to give a hint of immoral , crude, licsentious talk? Does our behaviour , mannerisms, and actions and thought life demonstrate the Godly calling that we have been elected to? Chuck Swindoll’s talk does not . Ingrid and VCY did take a bold stand---a manly stand . The church could use more “men” like her. God bless her and VCY.

  • Posted by joshMshep

    VCY is an example of why a lot of Christian radio is dying-- the censors make our stories less and less relevant to the world, who increasingly don’t care about our self-imposed rules.  In preaching God’s Word, Pastor Chuck obviously told his stories in language that even parents use today… there’s no “taboo list” in the Scripture.

    I shudder to think how long the VCY’s list of grievances would be if they aired The RELEVANT Podcast for even a month… now there’s a show that’s gaining traction with Being a Light in our Crowded Media Landscape.

  • Posted by

    Kevin, the point for me is that I don’t view the comments that were quoted in this article to be “sin”.  Neither do I believe that Chuck Swindoll is walking through life, merrily sinning as he goes along, with the attitude that “oh well, grace will cover it”.  No, I doubt that he views these comments as sin either.  So the question really becomes, are the comments and attitudes expressed in this article sin?  Perhaps I have been “desensitized” as another commenter proposed, but I really have a hard time believing the use of the word “buns” is sinful.  Likewise, I’ve talked with the girls about the uncomfortable particulars of a gynecological exam—yes, even joked about it!—and yet have no qualms about the conversation being “sinful”.  The truth is, these comments are not sinful; they are offensive to people who believe that certain parts of the body should not be referred to because they are “shameful”.  They are on the same level, maturity wise, with the junior high children who giggle every time the word “butt” is used.  The problem comes when those who are more mature forget that there are still some “children” out there listening to what they’re saying..............

  • Posted by

    Oops… it appears VCY is still selling Chuck’s vulgar books as “featured” resources on their website. 

    You see, the obvious reason would be that someone forgot to take it down.  Oops.

    I’m sure the link will be down within the hour.

    Therein lies the problem.  One day you’re promoting something as ‘featured’; (and offering it for profit, even); the next, you are not offering it at all because the writer is vulgar and corse.

    Following that logic (and the logic used so often at Slice and VCY); should not VCY be held accountable for the people that DID order the Swindoll book from them?  Didn’t they have a small part in forwarding the vulgar gospel that they now condemn?  What about the people who read the book and now listen to Swindoll; and emulate his ‘crappy’ vocabulary?

    (Slice just posted about MMI saying that MMI said that “Swindoll Vulgarity is A-OK” which I don’t believe I said, but anyway, I digress).

    My only point is, there needs to be balance.  A little grace, at least now and again.  So… you don’t agree with Chuck Swindoll on everything.  (and the things we’re talking about here are not ESSENTIALS of the faith).  So, he said ‘balls’ and talked about his prostate exam.  By all means… pull him from your stations.  But do so with more grace and style than you accuse Chuck of having.  That would’ve been a much better, less-divisive way to handle things than publishing a three page manifesto against a Christian leader and his ministry to the world.

    Just my 2 cents worth.


    What steps should they take to remedy the situation?

  • Posted by matt

    Ingrid definitely got her knickers in a twist again.  I really wonder how bleak a life it must be to spend so much time spazzing out over such incredibly minor things day in and day out.  There’s no way devoting your life to tearing other people down can be healthy for mind,body, OR soul.  I personally thought her last meltdown was the healthiest thing in the world that could happen to her.

  • Posted by

    I said it last week and apparently it fits again this week.

    “christians” are cannibal’s...... we eat our own.  No wonder people think were a joke and want nothing to do with this “religion”, sometimes I have those very same thoughts.

    Todd-thanks for having the “ball’s” to point out the hypocrisy of VCY!!

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