The Great ‘Harsh Words’ and Railing Debate?


by John McGlone

We hosted  a formal debate at the Fall SOAPA Conference in Atlanta, GA.  It was a struggle to say the least and not as ‘Great’ as I had hoped and prayed for.  I think overall the most of the debate went well. Unfortunately, due to my lack of good moderation and some intemperance of some preachers it ended in a less than ideal way which showed some very bad fruits.   Many naysayers and gain sayers, yet some like myself are encouraged that we at least have the apple cart overturned to inspect our fruit as a group.

     On the face of it, this seems to be a no brainer.  Jesus never railed, and railers obviously are on their way to hell according to the Bible and most Christians understanding of the Bible.  I want to make it clear that the debater, Aden Rusfeldt nor myself believe that Jesus was a railer in the common understanding of the word.  We and a few others hold that Jesus was/is a Holy upbraider, which is also defined in the Strong’s as rail and revile.  This was the basis for the weak argument of, “Jesus was a Railer”.  Personally, I have only understood this idea for about six months prior to the debate. I was encouraged when I saw Aden post a video with the very thing we were thinking and talking about. There is one of the lynch pins in this concept which makes sense and must be explained by opponents of the idea.

Here is a list of passages that use the word RAIL or some form of it:

2 Chr 32:17
He wrote also letters to RAIL on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand.

1 Cor 5:11
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a RAILER, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

1 Pet 3:9
Not rendering evil for evil, or RAILING for RAILING: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

2 Pet 2:11
Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not RAILING accusation against them before the Lord.

Jude 1:9
Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a RAILING accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

1 Sam 25:14
But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he RAILED on them.

Mar 15:29
And they that passed by RAILED on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,

Luk 23:39
And one of the malefactors which were hanged RAILED on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Notice that in this list not one of the words is in a positive sense, they are all negative.  So, obviously we can not direct such a negative word or behavior to the Master, Jesus Christ, can we?

Some months before the debate was even thought of or arranged a dear brother of mine brought forth the idea that upbraiding is also defined as rail.  Here is the definition and the verses.

The KJV translates Strong’s G3679 ‘upbraid’ Matt 11:20 in the following manner:upbraid (3x), reproach (3x), revile (2x), cast in (one’s) teeth (1x), suffer reproach (1x).

The KJV translates Strong’s H2778 ‘upbraid’ Judges 8:15   in the following manner:reproach (27x), defy (8x), betrothed (1x), blasphemed (1x), jeoparded (1x), rail (1x), upbraid (1x), winter (1x).


This creates a conflict of understanding especially in the Matt 11 passage as Jesus was never a reviler or railer according to our Scriptural understanding.   For the layman to overcome this conflict from the lexicons, he must conclude that Jesus was not a sinner, but a holy reviler or railer.  These words mean the same thing on different levels, the railing Jesus would have done would have been holy vs. unholy.  This would kind of be like holy hatred vs unholy hatred that God has for sinners vs. men have for men in unrighteous anger.   Keep in mind you can’t ignore it, you must deal with it in some manner or another.  

Mar 16:14
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

 Jas 1:5
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Jdg 8:15
And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary?

Mat 11:20
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

The way Br. Aaron dealt with it was to introduce an idea of hypernym vs. hyponym.  Here is a clear picture of the idea

Wikipedia Discussion

According to Aaron’s argument for the hypernym word, UPBRAID,  we have many ambiguous hyponyms:  reproach (3x), revile (2x), cast in (one’s) teeth (1x), suffer reproach (1x).reproach (27x), defy (8x), betrothed (1x), blasphemed (1x), jeoparded (1x), rail (1x), upbraid (1x), winter (1x).

My conclusion is that UPBRAID is synonymous with those words and needs no grammatical gymnastics to try and disprove that Jesus was a Holy upbraider,    This is clearly defined as railing and reviling in the Strong’s.  I must add that this would have to be holy as we know that Jesus did not sin.  This inconsistency is not explained by Br. Aaron’s presentation.  He never dealt with why the word UPBRAID is defined as RAIL & REVILE by both Strong’s and Thayer’s Lexicon.

Harsh Words

I have been preaching open air about 13 years very regularly and the idea of how a preacher should speak and conduct themselves in the open air is a continuing source of controversy.  I have wrestled over this in the spirit for going on four years now. Who can I associate with?  Is there a line or standard that should be held up for all to see?

What do you say preacher?

The Finality of Chaos?
The destructive chaos during the Q&A session was inexcusable on many fronts.  The vendettas, backbiting, and overall lack of self control on the parts of a few were instrumental for making the debate to be utterly vain as some have said.  But, God uses base things to teach us.  I believe this is actually a good thing.  In our home fellowship we have determined through many long discussions to be above reproach as the Spirit leads us, but not to quench the Holy Ghost’s work of holy upbraiding as we see the sinful land where we live is in need of our final warning.  People all over the country and the world are using this base thing to talk out these issues and purifying themselves by faith.

Final Warning
I warn you brethren do not become divisive and discordant between the brethren that work in the open air.   1 Cor 5:11 is used as a tool of the devil by some to sow much harm to the body of Christ.

1 Cor 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

The Greek word Loideros for railer used in this passage is someone who’s heart is bent on the bad motives toward the hearers of the message preached.   Unless you are sure by the Holy Spirit that the person is using attitudes of opprobrium then you must withhold judgment and allow the Lord to judge.

Aaron, used the word opprobrius to bring understanding to what railing means.  But, he failed to take it to the root word;


OPPRO’BRIUM, noun [Latin ob and probrum, disgrace.]

Reproach mingled with contempt or disdain.

This is the heart of the matter preachers.  Don’t mix your rebukes in the open air for sinners with contempt or disdain.  I would go further don’t mix your counsel to brethren on Facebook with the same contempt or disdain as you would become the man with the log in your eye.

Lastly, and ironically the ones who are trying to bring all of this holy correction on the few, are stepping all over themselves trying to set, keep, and enforce these words standards sowing all manner of discord.

Prov 6:16-19  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.



6 Comments to The Great ‘Harsh Words’ and Railing Debate?

  1. Chuck Elbell says:

    Very well put together Brother John. The heart is we are to stay away from vulgar language use that can cause others to stumble or quench the Holy Spirit. I do believe there is a place for Holy railing as you pointed out but let us not use vulgar language to rail. Amen!

    The question then becomes, what is vulgar language? What is vulgar actions? I once saw a guy preaching with brother Jeb Smock, use the “jack-off” gesture toward a guy that was railing him. This is not proper and is unclean and it does evidence that maybe the wrong spirit has been able to work in some brothers who have needed this correction to not use vulgarity to preach the cross. God Bless your labor Brother John!

    • johnmcglone says:

      Thank you for your thoughts! I am convinced and convicted to clean up my preaching and make it above reproach! I pray that for everyone in the OAP community. God bless you as well Br. Chuck.

      • Marvin Heiman says:

        Psa 18:26
        With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

        Froward: Strong’s Lexicon definition:

        The KJV translates Strong’s H6141 in the following manner: froward (6x), perverse (4x), crooked (1x).
        Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

        twisted, distorted, crooked, perverse, perverted

        ʻiqqêsh, ik-kashe’; from H6140; distorted; hence, false:—crooked, froward, perverse.

  2. Bro Christian LaFleur says:

    Thank you for presenting some in depth info on the topic. I must admit the debate left me with more questions. I think the conference is the appropriate platform to work out theological topics and examine the MEAT of the scriptures.

    • johnmcglone says:

      Thank you brother, praise Jesus! Yes, I think the conference is as well a good place to work out these topics. But, I will never be a part of a live dispute on FB anymore. There is too much opportunity for the devils to get a foothold between us as they have. I am thankful for SOAPA and hope to attend future events. Rom 14 is so important among the brethren. God bless you bro.

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