There has been a dramatic shift in our preaching style in the Lord’s church in the past half century. The results have been a dramatic shift in our view of God and his authority and the church’s relationship to denominationalism. In past years, preachers delivered strong lessons about sin and had the goal of convicting members and non-members of their sins (II Titus 4:2-3). We must remember that only one sin kept Moses out of the promised land of Canaan, and only one sin can keep us out of Heaven (Deut. 3:22-28; Isa. 59:1-2).
Many felt these sermons were too strong and during the 60s until the present time, the message changed to God loves everyone, and everyone will be saved by grace only.
Decades of humanistic preaching has bolstered the notion that humans are smarter than God! Now in 2015 many Christians have become apathetic toward God’s authority, and their Bible knowledge is almost zero. In American society today, it is “politically incorrect” to say that any other religion is wrong. But it is a well-known fact and obvious truth that Christ only established His church (Matt. 16:18). It is also a well-known fact and obvious that the church of which we read about in the New Testament was not a denomination, but all Christians were members of one body, and that body was the church! (Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:18)
In our society today, there are efforts to accept all religions, criticize none and literally stand for nothing. The time has now come that Christians must have the courage to be “politically incorrect.” We need to follow the admonition, “Render to no man evil for evil. Take thought for things honorable in the sight of all man” (Rom. 12:17). We need to reject hostility in our dealings with others, but that does not mean that we can agree that everyone is right, regardless of what they believe.
Has our preaching gotten too watered down in an effort to please the masses? Is it right for a preacher to use the pulpit to oppose corrupt political issues such as legalizing liquor, gambling, abortion, easy divorce, homosexuality, transgenderism, and other such things. My friends, these are not just political issues. They are also moral issues, and they are Bible issues. It is a shame and disgrace for any preacher to hide his head in the sand and refuse to preach on these sin issues that so adversely affect the morality of the community and nation.
Daniel certainly lived in a political time, but he stood fast in his loyalty to God (Daniel 6). John preached against immorality, even though it cost him his head (Matt. 14). We need that same kind of conviction and preachers with the courage to preach it. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (II Tim. 4:2). Preaching alone will not solve all the problems in our society, but it is certainly the place that needs attention now!
Our society has become anti-authoritarian and our preaching has become non-confrontational, non-offensive, that reflects the humanistic spirit of tolerance and good feelings. When preachers stand before God in the judgment and give account forhow they have handled His word, they will not be rewarded for making people feel good but rewarded for convicting sin which grew the church.
---- Earl Sutton