Preacher Tim Ross has received substantial criticism in recent months for using profanity on his new podcast platform, and although he initially defended his decision to use strong language, he recently announced he will no longer cuss on his public platforms.
At the end of 2022, Ross stepped down from his role as senior pastor at Embassy City Church in Irving, Texas, which he started nearly a decade ago because he felt called to go into full-time podcast ministry. His podcast, “The Basement with Tim Ross,” has amassed over 278,000 subscribers but he’s also received pushback for cussing on the podcast from the Church community and his pastor friends, one of whom asked him to look at the part of Ephesians 4:29 that says, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ross said many people had sent him Ephesians 4:29 to rebuke his cussing, but he responded by saying that the verse is not about cussing. Instead, it’s Paul “talking about gossiping and lying and backbiting and sowing discord among brethren, which is worse than all the cussing.” He added that his pastor-friend knows the context of the verse, and so when his friend pointed to the second sentence in Ephesians 4:29, he read it and received it for self-correction.
Initially, Ross defended his use of “strong language” because he said it fit with his “strong emotions.” However, following a recent discussion with his pastor-friend he had a change of heart and decided to no longer use foul language on his public platforms. He made this decision in part because he continues to be invited to preach at churches and doesn’t want churchgoers to be put on the spot and asked to defend his cussing on his podcast if asked.
“Using strong language on my public platforms is not worth [my pastor friends] having sideways energy brought their way,” he said in an Instagram Live video posted in August. Ross said his church leader friends should not be forced to defend him.
On his podcast, the minister, who has been preaching for 27 years, said his intent is to be “real, honest and vulnerable” with his listeners. His conversations on slavery and domestic abuse have incited Ross to use profanity, including the f-word.
“In my mind, it makes sense that when I’m feeling strong emotions, I should use strong language to go with those emotions,” Ross said of his decision. He said he is “very intentional” with his words and is not moved by others’ opinions of his choice to occasionally use profanity.
Ross said he has never felt convicted by the Holy Spirit for using profanity in public and stressed that he would never speak that way in the pulpit or at church.
He said his listeners now tend to be non-believers or new Christians and “can handle what comes out of my mouth.”
The recent conversation with his pastor-friend nevertheless led him to reconsider how he chooses to speak publicly because the issue has caused distress among those who’ve been following him for the past 27 years as a minister of the Gospel. He described it as “a frustration that I have not been unaware of.”
Since his platform attracts both believers and non-believers, Ross said he is not willing to make his church friends “uncomfortable.” He clarified that his video was “not repenting” but rather, is him “stumbling into how to do this right” because he does not want to send “mixed signals.”
Ross ended his video by assuring everyone that, moving forward, he feels led to not use strong language on public social media platforms or in any podcasts or interviews.
The pastoral oversight of Mike Todd’s Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, defended Ross, saying that he is fairly new to podcasting. However, several others took to social media to rebuke Ross, including Christian hip-hop rapper Datin.
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