A recent article indicated a growing number of members of the church have gotten away from wanting sermons that are of the nature of “book, chapter, and verse”, and have come to the point of wishing to have their “ears tickled” (2 Timothy 4:4) by what I call “sermonettes” from “preacherettes.” The article referenced a “preacher” that had some twenty years earlier indicated he never intended “to preach another doctrinal or issue-related sermon.” This reminded me of the preacher who I heard “brag” about how he “preached” fifteen-minute “sermons”, but bewailed the “ignorance of his brethren” when it came to their knowledge of the Bible. The article referenced above stated, “Generally speaking, sermons have become less doctrinal, softer, and less related to Scripture.” In view of 2 Timothy 4:1, 2, and Paul’s “charge” to Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”, such a practice directly contradicts God’s demands.

Amazingly, the article indicated that the results of such a move away from doctrinal preaching were that the church experienced “a thirty-six percent drop in membership . . . from 1978 to 1998”. Although the “preacher” cited in the article indicated that “old fashioned” preaching had done “more harm than good”, the “proof is in the pudding.” The facts are, when gospel preachers actually preached the Word with “vim and vigor” the Lord’s church grew. When this was changed to make room for so-called “motivational and positive preaching”, the church declined dramatically. One does not need to be the proverbial “rocket scientist” to see the facts here.

It always amazes me that those who clamor for a “watered-down” gospel message would not do so when it comes to many other things in life. For example, who would want to purchase gasoline that is “watered-down”? How many of us would be happy with a “watered-down” cola? Have we never poured out a soda because it was “watered-down” by the melted ice? The pure unadulterated gospel is the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). Anything less than the “whole truth” (John 8:32; 17:17) is robbed of the fullness of its power. The “word of God is quick, and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12) only when it is presented in its fullness!

Holding back that which is “profitable” unto man violates the example of Paul’s preaching to the Ephesian church (Acts 20:20). There is no doubt that in order to do what he did, he had to “preach doctrinal” sermons. If not, how was it that he could truthfully claim to have held nothing back that was “profitable”? If he held back part of the “whole counsel of God”, how could he have honestly made the statement he did in verse 27, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God”? Much of the New Testament was written by this same Apostle, who repeatedly dealt with “doctrinal or issue” related subjects. If every lesson found in his epistles that were related to either “doctrinal” or “issue related” matters were cut from the pages of the New Testament, the vast majority of the New Testament would find its way into the trash.

Found within the New Testament is twenty-one passages written by the Apostle Paul to churches at Corinth, Ephesus and Rome, and to Timothy and Titus, all of which mention “doctrine”. Not even one of them suggests that Paul was willing to do anything other than preach and teach those things necessary for sound doctrine. Not a single passage remotely suggests that Paul was instructing Timothy or Titus, as gospel preachers, to avoid preaching “doctrinal” sermons. In fact, just the opposite is true! Can you imagine Paul writing to Timothy, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, but don’t preach doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13, PSV [Perverted Standard Version])? Of course, you cannot if you know the New Testament, since Paul said just the opposite, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (KJV).

Shame on “preachers” who refuse to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2)! Shame on “elders” that refuse to stop the mouths of those “who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not” (Titus 1:11), allowing them to teach things contrary to New Testament doctrine! The Gospel is the one and only message by which man can be saved (Romans 1:16; Jude 3). Souls lost in eternity due to our failure to teach the truth will be souls for which we will give account. Consider the words of James relative to the responsibility of teachers, “My brethren, be not many masters (teachers, A.S.V), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1). As Jesus clearly indicated, when the “blind lead the blind” they both shall end up in the “ditch” (Matthew 15:14). The Lord’s church needs to say, “Enough is enough of this nonsense, either preach the word, or get out of the way so someone else can!” It is time to get back to the “old fashioned” “old Jerusalem” message given by inspiration through men who were not swayed by the whims of those around them!

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