Key Doctrinal Questions: Entertaining, Popular,   Positive, Upbeat, "Relevant," Crowd-pleasing Preachers?

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Observations, Synthesis, Thoughts, & Conclusions

.  The USA of Today is awash with hireling ministers bent on enjoying worldly success via 'ministry,' who habitually resort shallow, superficial, worldly methods, tactics, gimmicks, and communications to attract and hold numbers of people.  Such unseemliness is not limited to the obvious hirelings, but is widespread amongst ministers who have adopted such means in order to enjoy a degree of success which they previously were unable to attain, or to more rapidly reach such a degree of success.  Many a minister is also affected by denominational church boards of elders...who view themselves as the ministers' employers, and expect the ministers to heed their instructions.  These ministers essentially enjoy their livelihoods in accordance with their willingness to please the boards of elders, so heed man before God.  Multitudes of Americans frankly prefer smooth lies to unpleasant truth, and as there have always been, there are a great many 'ministers' only to willing to provide what the multitudes want.  The USofA is not alone in being effected by this blight, but it does appear to be the epicenter of it; such was not the case in yesteryear, though there have always been hirelings and wolves in sheep's clothing.

.  The following excerpt from Calvary's Cross with selections from J. C. Ryle, Horatius Bonar, D. L. Moody, and C. H. Spurgeon, is by J. C. Ryle.

"'Brethren,' said a North American Indian after his conversion, 'I have been a heathen and know how heathens think.  Once a preacher came and began to explain to us that there was a God; but we told him to return to the place from whence he came.  Another preacher came and told us not to lie, steal, or drink; but we did not heed him.  At last another came into my hut one day and said, 'I have come to you in the name of the Lord of heaven and earth.  He sends to let you know that He will make you happy and deliver you from misery.  For this end He became a man, gave His life a ransom, His blood for sinners.'  I could not forget his words.  I told them to the other Indians, and an awakening began among us.'

"I say, therefore, preach the sufferings and death of Christ our Savior if you wish your words to gain entrance among the heathen.

"The cross is the foundation of a church's prosperity.  No church will ever be honored in which Christ crucified is not continually lifted up.  Nothing whatever can make up for the want of the cross.  Without it all things may be done decently and in order.  Without it there may be splendid ceremonies, beautiful music, learned ministers, crowded Communion tables, and large collections for the poor; but without the cross no good will be doneDark hearts will not be enlightened, proud hearts will not be humbled, mourning hearts will not be comforted, fainting heats will not be cheered.

"A gorgeous banqueting room and splendid gold plate on the table will never make up to a hungry man for the want of food.  Christ crucified is God's grand ordinance for doing good to men.  Whenever a church keeps back Christ crucified, or puts anything whatever in that foremost place which Christ crucified should always have, from that moment the church ceases to be useful.

"Without Christ crucified in her pulpits, a church is little better than a cumberer of the ground, a dead carcass, a well without water, a barren fig tree, a sleeping watchman, a silent trumpet, a speechless witness, and ambassador without terms of peace, a messenger without tidings, a lighthouse without fire, a stumbling block to weak believers, a comfort to infidels, a hot-bed for formalism, a joy to the devil, and an offense to God."

.  The following excerpt from Calvary's Cross with selections from J. C. Ryle, Horatius Bonar, D. L. Moody, and C. H. Spurgeon, is by D. L. Moody.

"As I have traveled up and down Christendom, I have found out that a minister who gives a clear sound upon this doctrine is successful.  A man who covers up the cross, though he may be an intellectual man and draw large crowds, will have no life there, and his church will be but a gilded sepulchreThose who preach the doctrine of the cross and hold up Christ as the sinner's only hope of heaven and as the sinner's only substitute, God honorsSouls are always saved in the church where the blood of Christ is preached.

"May God help us to make much of the blood of His Son.  It cost God so much to give us His Son, and shall we try  to keep Him from the world that is perishing from the want of Him?  The world can get along without us, but not without Christ.  Let us preach Christ in season and out of season.  Let us go to the sick and dying, and hold up the Savior who came to seek and save them -- who died to redeem them.  'They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.'

"Once more, in Revelation 7:14, 'These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'  Sinner, how are you going to get your robes clean if you do not get them washed in the blood of the Lamb?  How are you going to wash them?  Can you make them clean?

"I pray that at last we may all get back to the paradise above.  There they are singing the sweet song of redemption.  May it be the happy lot of each of us to join them.  It will be a few years at the longest before we shall be there to sing the sweet song of Moses and the Lamb.  But if you die without Christ, without hope and without God, where will you be?  Oh, sinner, be wise, do not make light of the blood.

And aged minister of the gospel, on his dying bed, said, 'Bring me the Bible.'  Putting his finger upon the verse, 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,' he said.  'I die in the hope of this verse.'

"It was not his fifty years' preaching but the blood of Christ.  May God grant that when we come at last to stand before His throne, our robes may be washed in the cleansing blood of Christ!"

.  The following excerpt is from D. L. Moody's Secret Power

"The Jewish law required that there should be two witnesses, and so we find that when Peter preached there was a second witness.  Peter testified of Christ, and Christ says that when the Holy Spirit comes, 'He will testify of me.'  And they both bore witness to the truths of our Lord's incarnation, ministry, death, and resurrection, and the result was that a multitude turned as with one heart unto the Lord.

"Our failure now is that preachers ignore the cross and veil Christ with sapless sermons and superfine language.  They don't just present Him to the people plainly, and that is why I believe that the Spirit of God doesn't work with power in our churchesWhat we need is to preach Christ and present Him to a perishing world.  The world can get on very well without you and me, but the world cannot get on without Christ, and therefore we must testify of Him, and the world, I believe, today is just hungering and thirsting for this divine, satisfying portion.  Thousands and thousands are sitting in darkness, knowing not of this great light, but when we begin to preach Christ honestly, faithfully, sincerely, and truthfully -- holding Him up and not ourselves, presenting Christ and not our opinions -- then the Holy Spirit will come and bear witness.  He will testify that what we say is true.

"The Spirit's presence is one of the strongest proofs that our gospel is divine, that it is of divine origin.  Remember, when Christ was preparing to leave the world He said, 'He shall glorify me,' and 'He will testify of me.'  And so the Spirit is here now, as in the days of Pentecost, when Christ was preached clearly.  The message Peter preached should be the same: 'Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ' (Acts 2:36).  When Peter said this, the Holy Spirit descended upon the people and testified of Christ -- bore witness in signal demonstration that all this was true."

   Matthew 5:17-20


Matthew 13:51-52


Matthew 15:7-9


Matthew 16:6&12

Matthew 16:27-28


Matthew 22:41-45

"While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?  They say unto him, The Son of David.

"He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

"If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?"

Matthew 24:1-51

"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  

"Behold, I have told you before.  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.  

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect form the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

"Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had know in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 

Matthew 26:63-64

"But Jesus held his peace.  And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

"Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

Matthew 28:18-20

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Amen."



  John 12:48-50

"He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

"And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak."



  Other pertinent Scriptures


  Observations, Synthesis, Thoughts, & Conclusions regarding "entertaining, popular" preachers.

I am not trying to cast stumblingblocks before you; rather, I am trying to look out for your souls, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."  [II Corinthians 11:2]  And "this also we wish, even your perfection."  [II Corinthians 13:9b]  

I have not mentioned a huge category of unholiness committed on the Lord's Day, i.e., the unholy speech, and actions that so very many ministers engage in from the church pulpits, during services, on the LORD's Day; I will address such gravely damaging, unholy practices separately.


oh oh, i hope he doesn't see me crawling around down here, i'm not going too fast am i?  you can see i haven't come from a restaurant, you know what they always say, "no shirt, no shoes, no service!"home (toc)

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