Thursday, December 07, 2006
WHERE ARE THE PROPHETS OF GOD?
Just this week a pastor friend (Stuart) and I had a conversation that has really spurred my thinking. We were both remembering great preachers that have made an impact in our lives and ministries. Great men of God like Ron Dunn, Manly Beasley, and Stephen Olford quickly came to mind. These men called the Church to repentance, prayer and revival. They preached the Bible without apology or fear. God used these men to shape the lives of countless pastors and laymen. Two thoughts have been banging about in my mind ever since.
First, all pastors owe a debt of gratitude to the Lord for such men as these. They were gifts of God to his Church. Their holiness of life, passion for Christ, love for the Word and humility were tremendous examples of Christ-like ministry. Although I never met Ron Dunn or Manly Beasley, and Dr. Olford only twice; these men were mentors to me. I thank God for them.
Secondly, who will take up their mantles of ministry? Where are the John the Baptists and Isaiahs of the early 21st century? Preaching today is too often a warmed-over version of secular psychology. It is much easier to preach topical messages filled with heart-warming stories designed to make everyone feel good, than it is to exposit scripture word by word and line by line. The Biblical call to repentance and discipleship is being replaced by sermons designed to fill a building rather than convert the heart. The office of pastor and shepherd is being jettisoned for a secular CEO model.
Pastors, its time we step up to the plate and once again deliver solid, Spirit-empowered expositions of truth. As Dr. Olford once stated, "if you commit to expositional preaching you'll never lack for an audience." People may clamor to the latest 'hot' preacher who tickles their itching ears with non-offensive, non-confrontational, and non-Biblical sermons. But they will only be converted, changed, and challenged when a holy man of God, anointed of the Holy Spirit, holding the inerrant and perfect Word of God, preaches that Word in Spirit and Truth.