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Friday, March 4, 2011

The Way Things Look Depends upon Where You Are Standing

I just finished a book that castigated preachers who didn't agree with the author. Not so long ago I would have agreed with him. I am standing in a different place now. I am a preacher. I see the flaws in this author's reason. I can see them because I can't sit in judgment without knowing what is really going. I know because I live out what these other preachers are being criticized for.

This author says that preachers are not giving serious exposition to the scripture in their messages because they don't want to do the hard work of study. I laughed out loud as I read this. This author thinks that biblical exposition is hard! I know I would rather study the scriptures than do many other things that take up my life. I don't study like I should because I am in the hospital giving comfort to a family, counseling a young person on what direction his life should take, doing a funeral for a long time church member and/or sharing the gospel with someone who doesn't know Jesus. So, there are times when I "shoot from the hip" as this author has stated. I make some mistakes in my biblical history. I don't believe I have ever taught a heresy but I have certainly been guilty of inadequate preparation.

Do I believe that the preaching of the scripture is a sacred trust? Yes, but I also understand the necessity of taking care of sheep. Jesus said He was the truth. He didn't say that He merely told the truth. The fact that He is the truth means that I must interpret scripture and all of my life in the light of who He is. He is my Lord. I am obedient to what He says. I don't have the time to give every nuance of scripture. I must depend upon Him for giving the essentials of the scripture. I must depend upon Him to give me the essentials of life too. Everything is interpreted through Him.

So, I am not so critical any more when it comes to preachers who make mistakes from the pulpit. Yes, they get some things wrong. So do I. This has certainly given me much more grace as I have listened to others. I find that most of them have good hearts that seek after the Lord. They may not be intellectual heavyweights. They may not have had the time that this author has been afforded to prepare his messages. They may not be as good as him in their delivery. So what?

I guess my whole perspective was changed when I became a preacher.

Matthew 7:2 (NIV)
2  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  

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