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Transformation Pastor Says He’ll Stop Cursing on His Podcast—But Maintains It’s Not Sin

By Jessica Eturralde
tim ross
Tim Ross is oversight pastor at Transformation Church in Tulsa, Okla. (Photo via Facebook)

Pastor Tim Ross of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Okla., recently came under fire for using profanity on his new podcast. After initially defending his strong language, Ross now says he will no longer use it on public platforms.

In a video posted online, Ross said he received pushback from the church community and his pastor friends for cussing on an episode of his podcast, “The Basement with Tim Ross.” The episode featured therapist Jenna Mountain and addressed why women “don’t like the sex they’re being offered.” It also touched on slavery and domestic abuse, which Ross said prompted him to use profanity, including the f-word.

Ross said he’s now decided not to swear publicly again for the sake of other Christians and churches where he guest preaches.

But Ross clarified that he’s not apologizing or repenting for cursing because he doesn’t feel it’s a sin. He also has not removed the offending podcast, but simply added a disclaimer.

“This episode contains uses of some very strong language,” the disclaimer reads. “If you happen to be offended by the use of these words you may want to skip this episode.”

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Ross defends swearing, then changes position

In the video posted online, Ross said he felt comfortable using strong language in his episode with Mountain because it relates to the audience Mountain wanted to reach.

Ross, who resigned last year as pastor of Embassy City Church in Irving, Texas, said his new audience played a role, as well.

Later in the video, Ross described his podcast audience as a “cross-pollination” between those who knew him as a preacher for 27 years—and his new listeners, comprised mainly of nonbelievers and new Christians.

This new audience “can handle what comes out of my mouth,” Ross said. But he said “it has been very, very difficult” for those who know him primarily as a preacher “to receive things that I say when I choose to use that type of language.”

Ross said many people sent him Ephesians 4:29 to chastise him for his cussing. The verse states: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

tim ross
Promotional image for ‘The Basement’ Podcast hosted by Tim Ross. (Courtesy image)

Ross told his listeners the verse is not about cussing, but said Paul was describing gossiping, lying, backbiting, and sowing discord among brethren, “which is worse than all the cussing.” Ross defended cussing when the circumstances fit the strong language.

“I use strong language when I have strong emotions about a subject I am talking about because all language is used to express feelings,” he said. “I believe that the strongest language should be reserved for the strongest feelings.”

However, after a recent conversation with a pastor friend, Ross said he changed his mind and stopped using cuss words on public platforms. Ross said the friend, who’s familiar with the context of the verse, challenged him with the second sentence about “building others up according to their needs.”

Ross added that he also made the decision out of deference to churches where he guest preaches. He said he doesn’t want those churches to have to defend his cussing.

But Ross clarified that he has never felt convicted by the Holy Spirit for using profanity in public, nor is he apologizing or repenting for doing so. He said he does not believe swearing is a sin, though he respects those who do.

One of those who publicly challenged Ross’s cursing is Christian hip-hop rapper Datin.

In a video posted online, Datin said, “Words he used on the podcast—the f-bombs, the ‘bull-ish’ and all that—they’re considered unwholesome and corrupt speech,” Datin said in the video.

lentz todd
Pastor Carl Lentz, at left, has joined the staff of Michael Todd’s megachurch Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photos via Instagram)

However, according to The Christian Post, Ross’s pastor at Transformation Church, Mike Todd, who has guest appeared on The Basement, defended Ross, saying that he is fairly new to podcasting.

Recently, both Todd and Ross faced criticism for welcoming disgraced former Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz to church staff.

Ross insisted he’s not selling out or succumbing to pressure. Instead, he said about swearing on his podcast: “It’s just not worth it. I love my church, my friends, and the body of Christ.”

Ross also asked his listeners to be patient with him. “I’m trying to figure out how to preach to the church and the world at the same time,” he said.

Jessica Eturralde is a military wife of 18 years and mother of three who serves as a freelance writer, TV host, and filmmaker. Bylines include Yahoo, Huffington Post, OC16TV.

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20 Responses

  1. Has he never read Ephesians 5:3 that is more clear about not cussing than 4:29?!!! wow! He doesn’t think it is a sin because he doesn’t feel like it?!!!! wow!

    1. actually, he along with many talkers err I mean feel good friends err sorry I mean pastors should be reading MATT 7:21-23 daily. Hey, Osteen, ya figure out how the 600k cash into a bathroom wall? retirement fund money?

  2. Ephesians 5:4 is clear about swearing (cussing).

    “Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar. Rather you should give thanks to God.”
    ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭4‬ ‭GNT‬‬

    Not to mention other well known verses, which the swearing pastor should know, that hold pastors and elders to a higher standard.

  3. Fame, fortune and social media apparently make these rogue-types the smartest people in the room. My, how sin in the mega-church culture has perverted holiness. I can’t seem to find any indication from Scripture where Jesus used or promoted profanity! Leviticus 19:2 (ESV): “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”

  4. Well, it’s called profanity because it’s profane, the antithesis of what is sacred/ holy. But holiness concerns are old-school Christianity and not our modern moralistic therapeutic deism.

    1. Ha! Love your comment. When I was saved, many carnal things dropped off immediately; one of them was swearing. I used to swear up a storm! Holy Spirit so convicted me it was cold turkey. No more cussing or talking God’s name in vain.
      Zip. Nada. I love God’s work in me

  5. If I’m going to clutch my pearls over this guy, it’s definitely because of the Lentz thing and not him swearing.

    1. I hear enough of the f word out in public, I would expect a Christian man (pastor) to hold himself in a higher accord to his Lord and to those he is trying to reach and be an example of Christ.

    2. Absolutely. What is considered “profane” is always shifting, and is nearly entirely the product of one’s unique, localized culture.

      “Chalice of tabernacle!” is extraordinarily offensive to a French Canadian in Quebec. “Poop” is considered absolutely fine to most Americans, but other words for it are considered absolutely filthy. You can refer to someone or something as “bloody” in America, but British mums will clutch their pearls in horror.

      There’s a hilarious, but also quite scholarly legal opinion on the F word, written by an Ohio State University law professor that argues convincingly that the word doesn’t have an inherently sexual meaning and that it is just a taboo intensifier, because most of the uses “What the f,” “My f-ing cat,” have absolutely nothing to do with genitals or procreation.

      What’s truly profane is reinstating Carl Lentz to ministry.

  6. His excuses for swearing are lame at best and quite evident that he is and wants to conform to the world. It’s also obvious that IF he is truly a Christian, he has not had a heart transformation, especially since he said that he has not been convicted by the Holy Spirit for using profanity (in public).

    Before I became a Christian, I could and did swear like your average truck driver. After I became a Christian, I happened to realize one day that I wasn’t swearing any more. It was not a conscious effort at all on my part to stop swearing…it was the work of the Holy Spirit.

    He’s trying to figure out how to preach to the Church and the world…stop conforming to the world (Romans 12:2, James 4:4).

  7. If we are trying to reach the world – those outside the faith… becoming like them in fact strips us of our power and effectiveness… Jesus never became or acted like those He came to reach in regards to unrighteous speech and behavior… He spoke and conducted himself in a manner that drew the lost hurting angry and broken.::

    Come on Pastor… heavy topics and injustice evoke strong emotions … this doesn’t justify vulgar and coarse language…

    Would love to buy you a cup of blankety blank coffee to discuss!????

    You got this and I believe you are better than that!

    Careful… as out of the abundance of the heart… fill in the rest.:. You know it…
    Blessings

    Mark Rentz

  8. This issue is admittedly a bit subjective like the definition of what is modest and what isn’t. Who among us has the “authority” to classify/police which words are sinful and which ones are not?

    Is it sinful to abbreviate in writing a supposed curse word, or use it’s softer form (F bomb, BS, etc.) when anyone reading automatically translates the concept mentally?

    If the terms poop, S-word, crap, mess exactly describes what a bull biologically does daily, then why would any of the above be immoral to use?

  9. I have mixed feelings on this one: While I definitely know of Christians who are still working on this (catch themselves swearing when they stub their toe, etc), I have not known of those who still do it and are proud.
    However, it was some years of being a Christian before I was convicted about the music I listen to, shows/films I watch, and even how I dressed. Other Christians looking down on me with “the moment I was saved, I was free of ALL of these things – never swore, never listened to a song with a swear word in it, never saw a film where the Lord’s name was taken in vain, and never wore anything with a hem above my knee – EVER again” did not help. They just came across as arrogant and condescending “church people”, who liked to shame, and felt they had the authority to judge who was a “bad” or “not real” Christian for not having the exact same experience as they did.
    Those who gently advised me – then stepped back and let the Spirit work – TRULY showed me the power of speaking the truth in love AND on trusting the power of the Holy Spirit.
    This is a matter of the heart to be left to the Holy Spirit. We need to pray for Tim Ross – and then trust the Spirit to do its thing; the Spirit knows his heart better than any of us do. No nagging, brow beating, or sharing how perfect your speech is will help.

  10. What I find sad is that this story of one pastor swearing is getting more angry comments than the seven other stories on TRR’s front page that deal with Christian leaders’ abuse and sexual abuse.

    1. Because the abuse and sexual abuse have not been admitted or proven or compensated. Rather they are cases of hidden sin which are denied or covered up.

      However this pastor used profanities and then justifies it proudly.

  11. I too am far more concerned that this church has lacked the discernment to realize that Carl Lentz is totally unfit to be on the ‘team’ of any church. Something about gnats and camels seems appropriate here….

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