Here is just one of the many platitudes that erupt from the mouths of those who are opposed to strong and straight gospel preaching. The trouble with this particular one is simply that gospel preachers are not in the fly catching business; rather, they are in the soul-saving business like the one they seek to emulate! (Luke 19:10). There is an old story about a young preacher who stood up in a congregation where he was "trying out" and boldly proclaimed, "I do not think it right nor proper for a gospel preacher to tell people that they are going to hell!" An old and tried veteran preacher stood up in the back of the meeting house and shouted, "Son, point them out to me and Iíll tell them for you! For if they are headed toward hell, they need to know it!"
Before I write any further in this article, allow me to say that I do not think it is ever proper or right for a preacher or Bible teacher to be mean-spirited, rude, and/or demeaning. Such will never do, for this will drive people away instead of drawing them through the power of the precious gospel of Christ. It is a Scriptural fact that we are to be ". . .speaking the truth in love. . ." (Ephesians 4:15). But brethren, this does not mean that we "water down" the message for fear of offending some! This does not mean that we abstain, for instance, from preaching the truth on marriage, divorce and remarriage, because we know we have some in the audience in unscriptural marriages. It certainly does not mean that we will not preach the truth concerning damnable denominationalism because "it might run some off." Many times congregations attempt to "handcuff & gag" preachers so that the message heard in their pulpits could be preached in any of the denominational churches in town and the members of that denomination would not know that he was not one of them! In fact, with such "general themes" as are heard from some of our pulpits these days, one is made to wonder if the preacher is not, in fact, "one of them"!
Donald Rumsfeld, the current Secretary of Defense, was not well liked by many around the Pentagon when he first took over that position last year. He was not well liked by the Press Corp. either, for that matter. Why? Well, he was spearheading some much needed changes in the Pentagon, and he was (and is) a straight talker. He tells the truth, and he tells the truth bluntly and straightforwardly. As a result, the Press had a heyday with him. "He is crass and arrogant . . ." one reporter said. This was all before September 11, 2001. Now Donald Rumsfeld is popular among the Joint Chiefs and even among most of the Press. There was some talk about this in a special report on MSNBC a few nights ago. A panel of "experts" was discussing Rumsfeld, and particularly the "amazing change of perception" that has taken place. The overall consensus of the group was that the war had changed peopleís attitudes. One fellow said, "There is a softer, kinder language needed during peace time, but during war time people expect the bluntness and straightforwardness of Donald Rumsfeld, and they even like it."
Brethren, do you not realize that we are at war with Satan and his cohorts? (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-20; I Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:3-4). There will never be peace with him; he is our adversary. (I Peter 5:8). He is the ultimate "evil one", and he and his need to be labeled as such. The Word of God says that anything that is contrary to the "doctrine of Christ" is evil. (Read 2 John 9-11). We need not be mean-spirited toward those confused and deceived by Satan, but we must "call a spade a spade" and call upon people to truly believe on Jesus, repent of their sins, and submit to Him as Lord of lords and King of kings. The Bible is right!
Note: This article was written as the war in Iraq was raging, and Secretary Rumsfeld was giving daily updates to the press)
James E. Farley
P.O. Box 285
Crum, WV 25669
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