Search This Blog

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are Preachers Responsible for the Moral Decline?

I was recently confronted with the following statement: "I believe the reason we are in a moral decline is because preachers have not been preaching the Word of God." I couldn't really respond. I can't say that I have heard what most preachers are saying in their churches. I am preaching in my own church on Sundays so I don't get out much. Also, this statement is non-measurable. There is no one to measure the accuracy or the veracity by which preachers are declaring God's Word. Also, there is no way to determine the impact it is having. Jesus had a very small group of followers by the time of His death yet His impact beyond compare. So, those in the smallest of churches may be having a greater impact by those who follow than those who are in huge churches. The blaming of preachers sounds like a convenient way of absolving personal responsibility for doing what the individual already knows to do.

Still, I do know that there are some preachers who are deviating from God's Word. (I hear them on radio and watch them on tv and the internet. Not all radio, tv and internet preachers are failing to preach the Word but I know that some of them are.) They are supposedly endowed with special knowledge which enables them to give "new teachings" which no one else will give. They are leading people to believe in a god who does not exist. They are espousing a god who is much like the pagan gods of old who will respond favorably to those who sacrifice something that is special to his followers. It does not matter that these preachers "use" the Bible to prove their points. These proofs will not hold up to the whole counsel of the Word. Careful examination reveals their "new teaching" to be repackaged paganism.

There are other preachers who are soft-selling the gospel. These preachers are doing whatever it takes to gather larger crowds. They will use any vaudeville act to bring the people in. They give out teaching like pablum to their congregation which is never very mature. They are gathered into indoor stadiums to be rallied into feeling good about themselves so they can be successful in the world. Success is defined as being healthy, wealthy and good-looking. Image is everything in these churches. They give people the feeling that God is never disappointed in us. He is never really hard on sin. He is a "nursing home god." Their god is just glad you came by to see him. It doesn't matter what you are doing the rest of the time. He, then, promises you will inherit a whole lot because of your visits.

Yes, all preachers will have to give an account of their messages. (Hebrews 13:17) They are supposed to be responsible for the souls of their people. This the highest calling a person can have. Their failure to faithfully complete their duty will be judged harshly. Their judgment will not be pleasant.

Does this absolve people from their own responsibility toward the Word of God? I don't think so. I believe they will be responsible for listening and obeying things which they know to be wrong. All believers have been given His Spirit. He is the teacher who will recall God's Word to those who know Him. They will not be able to stand before the judgment of Christ and say, "It was the preacher alone who made me act as I did." They will bear some of the responsibility for their actions.
Yet, isn't this what the Bible warned us about. Didn't it say that there would come a time when people would want preachers who would tell people what they wanted to hear. In fact, that scripture indicates that it is the people who are gathering these preachers together. They seem to have, at least, some responsibility for the preaching.

So to the preachers I say: " preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." (2 Timothy 2:2) God alone will measure your impact. Just be true to the Word.

To the people who sit in the pew I say, "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1) Don't stand for false preaching. Remove yourselves from it.

2 Timothy 4:3 (NASB)
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

No comments: