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 26335 times so far.

  There are 156 Comments:

  • Posted by

    If you want to hear Ingrid put down African music and say the word “fanny”, check this out:


    Remember, do as Ingrid says, not as she does.

  • Posted by

    The logical concusion is that VCY will end up broadcasting nothing but Fred Phelps sermons someday.

  • Posted by

    the web is a wonderful source,

    It really does allow us to get a feel as to where we are and where we are going, or where we have been.

    I am a pastor in San Leandro California, and have listened to Mr. Swindoll for decades.

    What is happening here, is a discipline from God. Jame 3:1. When you look at the Old testament, you find few older men of God, who did not make the same end of their life mistake that Swindoll and others are making.

    And those of you who are younger and supporting this down grade of ethics and spirituality are unaware of the present darkness. 2Tim 3:1-7

    We are returning to the days of the judges. We are! I am only 46yrs old. And I keenly see the decline. I know Grace, love it, preach it, boldly. Christ is all! The problem, is wisdom and discretion is missing from this generation of pastors and budding theologians.

    Very seldom do we rise above our Culture!  “ Chew the cudd, and divide the huff “

    Be wise, not foolish. This is not about legalism, it’s about wisdom!

  • Posted by

    Dave, the quote is from 2 Timothy 2:19. When a person is truly born again they will hate all sin in their life. The Lord Jesus delivers us from the power of darkness ( Col. 1 :13). He delivers us from the penalty of our sin and also from the power of that sin. The things that you once loved you now hate. The things that you once hated you now love. Sin of any kind is now hated. He did not save us to walk around in some religious fog, He saved us to live a holy life before Him. Need wisdom on all of this? Ask Him and He will give it to you (James 1:5)

  • Posted by

    OK Darrel, I see it now.  The original post contains a confusing typo - depart FOR iniquity, instead of the correct “from iniquity.”


  • Posted by Indiana Jim

    Boy someone needs to remind some of you folks exactly what the world talks like!  You think that is crude and vulgar?  Profane?  Like heck it is.  Oh I’m sorry.  Didn’t mean to say heck.  Must have been all the Disney movies I watched as a kid.  I mean really!  I work part time at a Best Buy with kids from 17 to 21 (I’m 30).  All the people that are criticizing Chuck Swindoll sound like sheltered little Christian babies crying for their mommies.

    If you think Chuck’s behavior is somehow “of the world,” then you are forgetting to be “in the world,” because you have no idea what it’s like out there.  So many of us have set ourselves so far apart we don’t even know who it is that is lost and we’re trying to reach!

    Spurgeon and Wesley were both SOOOO right.

  • Posted by

    TODD - I’m a little weak in my church history, but don’t you think this “scandal” has to rank right up there with that which occurred when Ned Flanders referred to Marge Simpson as “that skank next door?”

    DAVE - I believe Iniquity is in SE Alabama. Think of the potential gospel movie titles that typo suggests: Pirates of the Caribbean: Leaving Iniquity; Shrek 12: Trip From Iniquity; Spiderman 18: Escaping the Web of Iniquity; Halloween 23: Jason Carves Up Iniquity; Left Behind 86: Departure from Iniquity

  • Posted by Indiana Jim

    Well Tim now we know we can’t listen to you because you have watched The Simpsons which comes straight out of the pit of hell under direct edict from Satan himself.  You vile betrayer.

    “That’s SULTAN vile betrayer to you!” —Iago, Disney’s Alladin.  I am going straight to heck for that quote.

  • Posted by

    Guilty, as charged. But, in self-defense, I do confess that Homer is the only American televangelist I watch.

  • Posted by

    Popular Swindoll may have upped his fees too much for VCY to want to pay. There is something in the background here that we don’t know. Big money doesn’t cancel for such trival matters; Chuck and VCY are big. I think it’s $.

  • Posted by

    Silly - just plain silly!  You better hope no one at VCY ever said (or says) Holy Cow or Holy Crow, as that is a euphanism for Holy (defication).  Or, just saying “Man, that’s terrible.” Man is used in place of damn.

    Maybe someone there says Gee wizz?  Might as well say the Lord’s name in vain, as it’s just a euphanism. 

    Or, maybe Swindoll was just fine saying what he said, and VCY needs a dose of reality!

  • Posted by

    Having never heard the ‘offensive’ comments, I can’t judge the matter, but for all the other times I’ve listened to Chuck, I’ve never had a problem with him!  Might he need to clean up a few issues? Maybe. So do I. We all do. We live in a fallen world, and the degree of degredation is growing by the day. Of course, it will seep in sometimes and that’s what we have to watch for.

    IF there was any offensive language, then Chuck should apologize and deal with it. We all have our weaknesses. But, as one person put it, if these people are going to be so literal, then Christ’s mentioning the eating of His flesh and drinking His blood should be ripped out of the bible.  (or NOT) .

  • Posted by clearly

    I love it how when someone stands for righteousness that others start throwing out the “h-word” and no I don’t mean a four letter one. People start calling others hypocrites . The issue isn’t what some Christians might say under their breaths in a moment of carnality. Nobody at VCY claims to have reached spiritual perfection or the point in which they no longer struggle with the flesh. The point is this: we should all strive for using good language in our everyday lives; this pleases Christ (Col. 4:6). When a preacher of the gospel (not just any preacher mind you, but one who has a huge audience) cannot use enough discernment to keep from using crass speech from the pulpit, someone must say something and remind those listening that what they are hearing is not the goal for godly speech. Whether they like it or not, pastors are to lead by example (1 Peter 5).

  • Posted by

    They’re right--this IS unbecoming of a Christian and definitely unbecoming of a pastor. I will be the first to admit that if people took a tally of the words I use (and think!) the list would be embarassing and make Chuck’s list look angelic in comparison. Using profanity is a major struggle for me, was something I did with wreckless abandon before coming to Christ about 3 years ago and is a hard habit to kick. But my goal isn’t to maintain status quo. My goal is to never utter or think another profane word again.

    A pastor is a leader. Chuck has the RESPONSIBILITY to be DIFFERENT from the world, not become more like it. He has a RESPONSIBILITY to stick out like a sore thumb, compared to the world, not blend right in.

    Friends, time to pick up your bibles and become reacquainted with what our LORD and SAVIOR has asked of us. We are to be a LIGHT to the world, we are to be BLAMELESS, so people can look at us and see the light of our Father in Heaven!

    “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” (James 3:8-12)

    Jesus said, ““Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” and, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” (Read Matthew 15:10-20)

  • Posted by

    Ray Jr. posts (Thanks for this, Ray… very amusing)

    “If you want to hear Ingrid put down African music and say the word “fanny”, check this out:


    Remember, do as Ingrid says, not as she does.”

    Oh my goodness… where do I start. First, Ingrid, the flesh is involved in all music making, because I must use my flesh to make it. My “sarx”, the body God gave me. The flesh that David used to dance and “shake his f*nny like an idiot in front of the ark of the covenant. Remember what happened to his wife who complained… (Also, as a pretty well-trained musician, I gotta say she doesn’t have a clue where she’s coming from)

    This is the most culturally insensitive thing I’ve seen in a long time. Does Ingrid know that the word “f*nny” is considered in some English speaking places (I think it’s New Zealand or Australia) to be an INCREDIBLY filthy word? I think she should be taken off the air for that one… If she’d used the word that that equates to there, she’d be off the air in no time…

  • Posted by

    i agree with most of the folks on here… this is absolutely absurd!!!!  crap? buns? balls?  chuck will land on his feet i’m sure.  the Lord’s will be done.

  • Posted by

    Someone better call VCY!  It’s June 4th and Chuck’s book is still on thier www.  The whole thing is just plain sad.

  • Posted by

    One of my families great joy’s, during the of summer of 2005, was our attending summer camp with Chuck and his family.

    The times we were together as a family, with Chucks family were very insightful. (Insight For Living indeed).

    Chuck is an old Marine, and a person of real life, a plain speaker. He is a mentor of mine, and as a pastor I would only wish that I could hold a congregations attention like he can, and get the point of The Gospel, (The Good News), to them, as only he can.

    My great regret to this whole farce is that others who would be caught up by Chucks plain speaking of the Gospel, (The Good News), will sadly not be able hear it from the VCY network.

    I will pray, and I encourage others, to pray for VCY and their staff.

  • Posted by

    wow - a good reason to boycott VCY.... and to stand up and take notice of Chuck Swindoll’s ability to speak to relevant issues in the language of the people.  As a new Christian, I was mentored long-distance by this guy via radio and books.  Now that I’m a pastor, I’m pleased to see my former mentor going strong and making a difference, even in the face of whiners.  Go Chuck!  Kudos man.  You’re probably the only “Christian radio” I’d listen to, these days.

    And remember:  “Forgive your enemies - it messes with their heads.” Shalom

  • Posted by

    I’m proud of you all! Being relevant in a culture that considers us irrelevant has just been proven by those who say they want to save the world with the Gospel of Jesus. Thanks for renewing my faith in all of you who entered a “real” contibution to this blog.
    Chuck is an awesome communcator and he wants to use the word crap, or heck then that’s his choice and I don’t have to question his integrity as a minister and Christian. His life tells the story.

  • Posted by

    They would probably kick Jesus off the air for talking to harshly and using unkind words to the Pharisees of our day too.

  • Posted by Pastor Dave

    Chuck answers to God for his message, not to us or the VCY.  He has a right to preach as he feels led…

    The VCY has to answer to God for what they allow on their broadcasts.  They answer to God and not to Chuck, Todd, Me, or anyone else.

    Happily, we have the privilege to have an opinion and an interpretation of situations like this and it is good to share those thoughts.  From the dialogue we learn. 

    Really though, what we have here is a false morality that has been substituted for a legitimate one.  The vocabulary of the Bible is very descriptive.  Through His inspired writers God discusses what to do with poop, how men urinate, having sex during a woman’s period, the beauty of female breasts, eating feces, grabbing someone’s nuts in a fight and a host of other “offensive” topics that today are taboo on the one hand and central to humor on the other.  Satan loves imbalance.  It’s not wrong to discuss these things, it’s wrong to laugh at sin.  It’s foolishness to take things that belong on the sideline and to constantly place them centrally onstage.
    However, we reach the culture that we are in.  If some people think it’s wrong to say balls, then we season our speech with salt, keep our vocabulary gracious and thus keep them from getting distracted from our Christ by base language.

    In short, it just depends on the audience and the situation.

  • Posted by

    Interesting… I was curious about the kooks at VCY America so I checked out their website… and noticed they still have Chuck Swindoll’s book for sale!  I guess they’re not even burning the books.  Yet.  By the way, the brochure about saving your church from “going purpose-driven” is really a hoot!  If you showed a copy to friends, most would guess it to be a parody.

  • Posted by

    How sad and pathetic. The mainstream Church is so out of touch with the Body--like congestive heart failure to the veins. No wonder we are experiencing chest pains.

  • Posted by

    The rest of this multi-facited issue not withstanding, I have to agree with the businessperson who was concerned about the slang language being broadcast over his workplace speakers.  Because it could clearly be offensive to some, I think it can have been successfully edited to be offensive to (virtually) no-one.

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