Email Newsletter  

Each Monday Morning, we'll send you the newest church leadership headlines straight to your in-box! It's all free and you can unsubscribe at any time! Join over 12,000 other pastors who receive MMI updates each week! We respect your privacy.


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

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 8719 times and was added on May 29, 2007 by Todd Rhoades.
Filed under: Engaging Culture  Trends in Today's Church  Current Events and the Church  
Share this post with a friend right now!
View reactions to this post at other blogs...

You can really help us out by subscribing to our free RSS feed with your favorite feed reader, or here at Bloglines. Also, you can add us to your favorites at Technorati.

It's easy...
Link to this URL

Like this article? Get our free weekly email newsletter for more great resources just like this...  

- - - - - - - - - -
  There are 92 Comments:
  • Posted by Pastor Dave


    Your point is excellent.  I edit a 30 radio program every week.  With today’s technology, editing sound is so simple that even the smallest detail in a sermon can be deleted or rearanged to be “gentle unto all men.” There are many things that I preach freely among friends that I cut out for a public broadcast because my listerns may not have a greater context to fit my coments into.

  • Posted by Jim Mueller

    Chuck and IFL was a significant part of my formative Christian years.

    Fortunately VCY represents only a handful small of stations in the midwest--
    and only one major market: Milwaukee.

  • Posted by

    A long time ago I heard a preacher say the following:

    Isn’t it funny how the mighty Army of God, shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, girded about with the belt of Truth, wielding the sword of the Spirit, wearing the breatsplate of Rigtheousness and the helmet of Salvation, and protected by the shield of Faith spends most of its time either polishing its armor or fighting amongst themselves.

    Nobody in ministry is going to please everyone.  I heard a Phd in Christian Education proudly say that she had been complimented on her preaching because she never used any split infinitives.  Is that what’s important?  Have we come so far from the truth that we forget that the Christ himself was ridiculed and harrassed and eventually killed by a hypocritical religious aristocracy because he dared do things or say things they thought improper?  Alas! Alas for you, liars and pharisees!  Start caring more about the people and less about your stupid man-made rules!  This is the very same argument that is used to denigrate the importance of Contemporary Christian music.  Their logic seems to be that if it offends them, it’s bad.  It’s going to be interesting to see them try to defend that stance before the White Throne!

  • Posted by

    I’m pleased to see that for the most part, there is support for Chuck Swindoll’s ministry, despite the criticisms that have been raised concerning his choice of words, in particular.  I’ve heard his broadcasts a number of times, and generally find his ability to connect with people on a human level to be very encouraging.  I’ve been personally inspired by his messages.

    It is indeed unfortunate that those among us who would be better to have a spirit of unity with other believers despite our differences of opinion on some issues, instead choose to create disunity.  I don’t doubt that this was not their intent, but I also don’t doubt that they fully realized that it would be the result.  It would be very naive not to realize the attack on the unity of believers that their decision represents. 

    I’m sure also that they genuinely believe that the disunity issue is the lesser of two evils.  But I personally don’t believe that censoring words such as “heck” or “crap” from Christian broadcasts is more important than the command to love each other.  I believe that knowingly creating disunity and causing harm to any part of the Lord’s work is a far more serious sin than an issue of using the language of the common people in relating and reaching out to them. 

    The unfortunate fallout from this negative position on Swindoll’s choice of words has perhaps not yet been fully considered, however.  Once you start on the path toward censorship, all that is left to determine is the degree to which words must be censored.  You can no longer agree not to censor, without reversing your original position.  All that remains is to decide how far to go.  And the degree of censorship will change with the sensibilities of each future censor.  At this point in time, based on VCY’s decision, there are certainly already a number of passages of scripture which would be inelgible for reading on the airwaves due to this hypersensitive decision.  To allow these passages of God’s Word to be read now would be hypocritical on the part of VCY.....unless of course, they were to also recant their condemnation of Chuck Swindoll as well.

    And this is precisely what enemies of the Gospel, and all those who oppose the message of the Bible want.  They want to be able to censor some passages as being politically incorrect for our society.  Censorship is a two-edged sword, as noted well by American Author Ray Bradbury in his 1950’s novel “Fahrenheit 451”.  Will Christians soon have to have their own dictionaires of acceptable language, in order to ensure that words from secular dictionaries such as Webster’s don’t creep into Christian broadcasts?  And will each Christian group soon have to have their own revised version of these dictionaries, to meet individual preferences?

    I live near Toronto, Ontario, and in Canada, the “language police” mentality of the Quebec government has many of us in other parts of Canada shaking our heads in disbelief at times.  It does little to foster respect for the French culture.  It creates resentment and disrespect instead.  And Christians on both sides of our border don’t need to embark on similar insanities when it comes to the Lord’s Work. 

    If we divide among ourselves whenever we disagree, there will be endless divisions, and we will all be the poorer as a result.  The real issue at stake isn’t maintaining purity and holiness.....but maintaining freedom of Believers to carry out the great commission in a spirit of unity and without outside interference. 

    Let’s pray that a desire for unity comes out of this and that VCY considers the merits of a spirit of greater tolerance for the individual styles of those who speak the Lord’s word to audiences of great diversity.  If we were all alike in our stylistic approaches, apart from becoming very boring, cookie-cutter clones, we would soon be unable even to do as the apostle Paul did in Athens in relating in a unique and fresh way to a pagan society.

  • Posted by

    How insane does the Christian world have to become before “sane” Chrisitans say......"enough????" Chuck Swindol not only has given me tons of witnessing material, but has been a blessing to my relationship with my 14 year old son.  We used to listen to him every morning, before dropping him off at school.  Chuck Swindol not only made both of us laugh, nod in agreement and praise the Lord for his ministry..........but his down to earth sermons “bonded” us.  My son appreciated the way in which Chuck Swindol approached matters, especially since they actually meant something in his world as well as is his mother’s world.  I work in the social work field and have been able to bless many people with the uplifting, intelligent and caring sermons/teachings of Pastor Swindol.  Please, stop judging and take off the cloak of righteouness.

  • Posted by Jeff Stewart

    Oh bah-ruther!  That’s utter “sku-balon!” Pharisaism is alive and well.
    How about a review of Matthew 9&!0; Luke 15; Acts 17 and Romans 14 while we’re considering the subject of what is “Christian behavior.” Do we really understand the tension needed for shrewdness and innocence - to be distressed and yet see that “in every way” people are searching and hungry - to grasp the depth of Christ’s advent based not on the calling of the “righteous but sinners.?”
    VCY is running out of Brasso polishing the outside of their shiny cup.

  • Posted by

    I am amazed that so many believers are defending Chuck Swindoll’s choice of words.  What a sad state we are in.  If it’s okay for a pastor to use such crude language then what’s keeping us from letting a three year old use the same words.  I have also been guilty of words such as ‘heck’ and ‘crap’, but listen to that coming out of your child’s mouth and you know without a doubt that it is wrong.  I cannot imagine my Lord stooping down to such a level.  The Bible very clearly states in I Peter 1:15 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation”.  I can defend my view biblically.  Can those of you who support Mr. Swindoll do the same?  This is not my opinion, it is biblical command.  I pray that Mr.Swindoll would take this as a loving wake-up call from concerned fellow believers.  I have no doubt that he has been a blessing to many, but we are not perfect and we are usually blind to our own faults.  Thank the Lord for brothers and sisters who rebuke us lovingly for the glory of God.

  • Posted by Phil DiLernia

    Hi Susie:

    I agree that we need to base all of our views on the Bible.  And consistent with that and your views on Mr. Swindoll I’m sure you’ll join me in removing some parts of the Scripture from our cannon because they are crude.

    Ezekiel makes Mr. Swindoll look like a choir boy.  How dare he use the words and language that he did to describe the lustings of the Samaria and Jerusalem!  I refer to Ezekiel Chapter 23.  They loved to have the “breast fondled (v3).” They lusted after their lovers (v5.) She never gave up her prostitution of her youth when men caressed her vigin bosom and “poured out their lust” upon her.  Hmmm ...  And that was only Samaria ... Jerusalem was even worse!  She saw pictures on the wall of the great warriors and and lusted after them (v16.) She carried on her prostitution openly, exposing her nakedness (v18.) And this is the real bad stuff .... she lust after her male lovers who had “genitals like those of donkeys and who emissions were like that of horses!!!!”

    I think you should get VCY to stop the church from dirtying our minds with such filthy street talk because Chuck Swindol was never that bad!

  • Posted by Leonard

    I tried to read your post Phil but my filter wouldn’t let me open it.  (smiley face here)
    On another note, you are doing a great job there at your church, I can see by visiting your web and by hearing the stories.  Keep up the great work for the Kingdom.

  • Posted by

    "WOW”........Thanks Phil.  I knew that the Bible never pulls a punch........but it was amazing to read those words “straight” from the Word Of God!!  Thanks so much for being a man of God, one can be proud of, who would rather walk in the truth than set in the seat of judgement.  Funny, the Word Of God talks about our “righteousness being as filthy rags”..........wonder how many intelligent Christians even understand what that......."VERY USED STATEMENT IS IN REGARDS TO?” Think menstrual pads ladies!!!!  Yep, that’s right!! Back in the day, before Kotex was invented, women used rags during their menstrual cycle.  They would wash out these rags, dry them out in the sun (this helped to naturally bleach them) and use them again during their next cycle.  I’m a little confused here, if this information doesn’t offend those of you who are enjoying bashing Pastor Swindol, you have some twisted ideas on what is an exceptable metaphor/description; he didn’t even come close to making such a disgusting statement!!  Preach on Pastor Swindol.

  • Posted by

    Of course, we could ask Ingrid what she thinks of St. Paul’s admonition regarding women being silent in church......

    As I remember, brother Swindoll’s favorite (vulgar) expression has to do with someone’s short’s being in a wad!

  • Posted by

    Hi Phil,

    Oh one cannot argue that there is graphic and often explicit language in the Bible; Song of Solomon being the perfect example.  However, to my knowledge (I’m sure people will correct me if I’m wrong) the book of Ezekial is not meant for entertainment.  He was very clearly stating the acts of immorality that people were taking part of.  And I don’t think there is an easier way to state the obvious.  What I question with Dr.Swindoll is his need to “amuse” and “entertain” the audience.  To ‘come down to the average man’s mentality”.  Can you honestly compare Ezekial and Dr. Swindoll in their use of language?  Ezekial is talking with disgust and with a righteous condemnation.  Dr. Swindoll seems to do it for pure fun and entertainment.  What saddens me most is that so many believers scoff at having a desire for holiness.  To be holy as He is holy.  Instead we joke about it and call those who question those statements ‘righteous hypocrites who have nothing better to do than judge’.  Well, it is the duty of every believer to question those in the church (I Cor 5:12 makes this very clear) .  I’m sorry, the excuse that the Bible has vulgar language isn’t enough to justify crude remarks.  We would do well to remember the context in which they are spoken.  Sincerely in Christ.

  • Posted by

    Susie, et all, do you / have you actually listened to Chuck Swindoll preach?  Or are you just parroting the VCY party line?

    Yes, apparently he used some words that some found offensive.  Heck, who hasn’t?  And he’s being criticized for liking the Lion King movie?  Get real, my kids love that movie and I don’t see anything wrong with that.  I can think of a great many things more worthy of getting worked up about and a lot of Pastors who get more vulgar than Chuck Swindoll.

    VCY can drop CS/IFL if they want, that’s a business decision (let’s keep in mind that VCY is still a business and must pander to the audience they are trying to keep).  VCY is a fairly small player in several small market areas and I’m IFL will survive without VCY, although I’m also sure Chuck regrets not being able to reach people thru VCY stations.  IFL is still broadcast on over 2,000 stations, so their ministry continues to flourish.

    I like what Andy Stanley says about the church engaging culture:

    Question #1 :: Can the church impact culture?

    Absolutely! There are times where we may be discouraged, but history shows us that it is possible to impact culture. Rome and colonial America are great examples.

    Questions #2 :: Should the church impact culture?

    It is the responsibility of the church to impact culture. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.”
    Salt is a preserver. We are to keep culture from rotting and getting worse.
    Light is a luminator. We are to show the world what Jesus is like.
    Apart from grace, unconditional love, and forgiveness, there is no hope.

    Question #3 ::  How in the world can the global church impact culture?

    We as church leaders must figure out how, within our context, we can be salt and light. In other words, what does it mean for your unique church to be salt and light specifically to your context?

    All along the way, hang onto grace and truth. Depending on how you were raised, you may be hard to one of these and soft to another.
    All truth = intolerance
    All grace = worthless to culture (because the truth is what sets us free)
    Jesus was full in both grace and truth.

    We have the potential to change culture because history says it is possible. Jesus said it is our responsibility, and we need to figure out how to be that within our context.

  • Posted by

    DanielR, Christ never told us to change the world he said to go into the world and preach the Gospel.  We know the world will not get better, look at Revelations and all the evil and horror yet to come.  Our responsibilities involve living a holy and just life so that others will see Christ in us and repent of their sin for the glory of God.  Yes we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, so to be using crude language that the world has made so common would lessen our ‘saltiness’ (sorry couldn’t find a better word).  I just can’t get past the crudeness so easily.  This whole issue hits a little close to home for me.  I heard a pastor say ‘holy cow’ from the pulpit, and I felt so uneasy.  I really wonder if he knew how that sounded.  Always seems worse coming from a pastor.  But then I realized I had been guilty of saying the same thing, talk about a double standard.  I was expecting more from a pastor than I was from me.  This was a pastor that I really respected, and I still do.  What really hit me was a passage of scripture I found a week later “there is none Holy but I”.  I have had to make concessions in my conversation because the Lord showed my sin to me.  I am not condemning Mr. Swindoll; I’m not jumping on that wagon, but no one one question him if he refrained from such talk.  We wouldn’t realize it was missing and we wouldn’t care.  Sometimes we just like a little justification from a respected leader for our own faults.  In Christ alone.

  • Posted by

    Susie, just wanted to state how nice it was to read your latest posted comment.  Your newest posting was more Christ-like.  It’s wonderful to read that a sibling-in-Christ can admit to sin, therefore, taking off that tattered-old cloak of righteousness.  You’re absolutley correct about the “saltiness” and that others should be able to see Christ when they look at us or hear us speak.  Unfortunately, our walk will always be a “work in progress,” and each christian will be in a different season than another christian (most of us walk in and out of victorious seasons).  I’ve personally been through a lot of trauma, pain and confusion (recently) and have not always represented my Daddy God as I should have.  Bright spot??  I won’t ever sit in the judgement seat again, and that (for me) is the best example of living out a Christian life.  Being in the social work field, it’s easy to see all the ugly, unHoly attributes of the human nature, nevertheless, I believe in one concept with my whole being.........."In the blink of an eye, who I was.......I am no longer.” Through the Blood of the Cross, and the open door of my heart; the Lord is welcomed in.  My sins are not chained to me, and neither are yours or theirs.

  • Posted by Deborah


  • Posted by Article

    Thanks for the info.  I really enjoyed your article.

  • Page 4 of 4 pages

    « First  <  2 3 4
Post Your Comments:





Live Comment Preview:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: