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Preachers Enjoying Style Over Substance
by Gregory John Monroe
10/19/2014 / Church Life
Sometimes I get the sense that some preachers preach just to hear themselves preach; in particular those on TV and radio. The emphasis on speaking in a cadence, or in a sing/song manner; or punctuating the end of sentences and phrases with an exaggerated burst of breath or an organ note, oftentimes obscures what's being said. The words only seem to serve as a performance piece; as a way for the speaker to demonstrate the ability to rhyme and/or extend an ad lib.
In line with entertainment and self-promotion, I've also seen preachers make an entrance by descending from the ceiling while clinging to a rope, dressed in a super hero's costume. I've seen preachers flopping on their bellies from one end of the pulpit to the other to make some point.
I've seen so-called spokesmen for God sporting earrings and pierced nose studs, as if saying to the congregation, "I intentionally come before you like this because God is cool and doesn't mind me revering my own coolness and casualness before Him." It's like they're saying to the secular world which may be viewing or listening, "Look how relevant I am and this church is. There's no difference between us. We're just like you." (And we shouldn't be. The church should be an alternative to the ways of the world.)
I've seen preachers burst into continuous hysterical laughter and barking.
And so-called holy drunkenness I've seen too. The preacher, and sometimes others called on, will stagger around on the pulpit in a stupor that looks like the actions of any drunk one might see in the world. What's up with that? They say it's the Holy Spirit influencing them, but the God I'm familiar with stresses order through His word on church conduct. It couldn't be the Holy Spirit presiding over such confusion. I believe it to be an unholy spirit causing such behavior; behavior that to the unbeliever would appear to be loony-tunes crazy.
It all comes across to me as a performance piece to get the people into an emotionally charged state of mind and feelings, whereby afterwards, it can be said of the preacher, "He (or she) sure knows how to preach." And popularity ensues.
I often wish I could be at some of those events and afterwards ask what was preached, what was the message? I suspect there would be a great majority out of every ten people who wouldn't be able to tell me. All they would know is that they had an uplifting time.
I just can't see Jesus using the above antics in teaching and preaching. Sure, it's understandable that one wants to be engaging, and not a monotone speaker when speaking before a congregation; but I know too that the simple preaching of God's word and of the gospel - being powerful enough in itself unto salvation - trumps cleverness of speech, adornment, and histrionics.
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