A controversial Memphis pastor who has drawn millions of views with his messages online by punctuating them with profane words, says he really doesn’t “give a da*n” what traditional Christians think of his practice.
“I find no reason to try to justify that. I’m a fisher of men. I go to people on their level. And you have to get past the cussing to get the message. The cussing has drawn the attention of millions around the country. Apparently, it’s drawn yours because you’re calling me,” Pastor Thaddeus Matthews, who leads the Naked Truth Liberation and Empowerment Ministries in Memphis, Tennessee, told The Christian Post Thursday.
While some might consider his use of expletives in his messages swearing, Matthews doesn’t believe the way he uses expletives in his messages falls into that category.
“There is a difference in ‘cussing’ and ‘cursing’ as people say. The words that we use today like motherf****r, sh*t, damn, were not words that were used in biblical times.
“So I don’t have an issue with the cussing. And the people that listen to me don’t have an issue with the cussing, and I’m not trying to justify it to the traditional churchgoer,” the preacher explained.
Matthews, who calls himself “the cussing pastor,” launched his ministry about three years ago, building on a longtime career as a controversial broadcaster in Memphis.
“I’m a controversial figure in Memphis and I’ve been in broadcast for nearly 40 years. So even prior to the ministry starting, we’re going into our third year now, I’ve been a controversial person,” he said, fully embracing his public image.
Among his most viral messages so far is a video in which he tells women to stop having sex with men who refuse to work. That video has been viewed more than a million times. The 61-year-old, who is unmarried, also caused a stir earlier this year when he posted a photo of himself on Instagram resting his head on the covered chest of a woman he described as a fan.
Come October, Matthews plans to take his message to the streets in what he calls “The Bullsh*t From the Pulpit Tour.”
He said he is on a mission to push back against the “bullsh*t” festering in popular church culture that is causing many people to turn away from God.
“There’s so much bullsh*t that’s going on in the church in the traditional mindset. And the reason that people are leaving a view of believing in God is because they are believing in preachers, they are believing in churches, and preachers have set themselves up on pedestals and they are forgetting about the people. They’re not giving people a message of hope,” Matthews said.
“We’re spending too much time talking about tithes and offerings but not talking about the needs of people in society. Why are people depressed? How do you get over depression? How do you have an abundant life?” he continued.
“I’m not talking about a prosperity ministry. If we’re preaching in a church that God will bring bread for you when you’re hungry and all the damn folk in the church is hungry, the message is not going forth if only the pastor looks wealthy and only the pastor is looking good and driving good. What is the message of hope that we’re gonna give the people?” Matthews asked.
He said when he’s in church on Sunday he doesn’t use certain words from the pulpit. He cusses to get the attention of people and once he has that, he takes the opportunity to share his faith.
“I don’t call people from my pulpit motherf****r. But I don’t have a problem with the word motherf****r. … I don’t give a damn what you think,” he said. “My point is not to make you comfortable because I’m gonna tell you some things about life that’s not being told by your preacher on Sunday morning that’s gonna make you uncomfortable.”
Matthews said he believes that too many people have placed God into personal boxes and have forgotten how awesome He is.
“We have turned God into our own social ideas, our own political ideas and we have gotten away from His awesomeness. He says in His Word that there would be a new thing and this is that new thing,” he said of his ministry.
“People thinking for themselves. You being raw and talking to people. You can’t clean a fish until you catch that fish. And what the cussing does, it attracts you to who I am and then I draw you in with a message and the message is that God wants you to have a prosperous life. God wants you to be healthy, and God is not just a God for you just to die and try to go to Heaven,” Matthews explained.
“If His Word says I am come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly, why is our constant message only about dying?”
His solution to the church’s failure is to speak directly to his audience in a way he says they appreciate much more than traditional churches.
“One of my slogans is at this particular building (ministry) is that this ain’t your grandmomma’s church. I’m not traditional even though I’ve been in the ministry since I was a teenager and I’m 61 years old. I walked away from the church because of the bullsh*t that comes from the pulpit,” he said.
About 50 people show up weekly for Sunday services, he says, while he averages an additional 8,000 to 9,000 viewers online.
“The current traditional mindset is losing out. You will find that the millennials are not going to the brick and mortar anymore. We’re living in a progressive age and I had to come, at 61 years old, I had to come at the realization that life and society is changing as we know it. People are not looking for the same things in ministry or in church that they were looking for 20 years ago,” he said.
“We have the emotionalism, especially in the black church, we call it pulpit theatrics. People ain’t looking for that. People are looking for remedies to their ills, their problems in life.”
He also argued that the Church should take some of the responsibility for the state of the world.
“Some of the ills in the world happen to be the fault of the Church because if 2 Chronicles is correct — ‘If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their evil ways, then will I hear from heaven and heal the land.’ If [only] church folk would get away from the bullsh*t in the pulpit …,” he said.
Matthews, who said he is not in ministry for money, also noted that God’s blessings have allowed him to personally fund 90 percent of his ministry’s cost.
Warning: The video below contains strong language and content unsuitable for children