By Ken Leach
So the brotherhood is looking for gospel preachers are they? (see “A Number of Churches, Large and Small Are Now Looking for Preachers,” Guardian of Truth, May 16, 1996 article by H E. Phillips.) I doubt that!
What if I could find a gospel preacher that has been unsuccessfully looking for a congregation to work with for over a year? Well, you say, maybe this gospel preacher isn’t a good enough speaker. I respond that he was recently asked to present an evening lecture at Florida College and did very well according to hundreds who heard him preach. Well, maybe he is one of those preachers who moves around too much. I respond that he is still working for the same congregation he was working with five years ago. Well, maybe he is one of those preachers who has never done anything but preach and cannot relate to the “real world.” I respond that this man was head of communication for a very large firm (the U.S. Navy) from which he retired after twenty years.
Well, maybe he isn’t very good at personal work. I respond that this man, when holding a gospel meeting in Tennessee, went to the town a couple of days early (on his own volition), knocked on doors, invited people to the meeting, asked for home Bible studies and baptized a couple from that effort during the three-day meeting. How long has it been since you heard of something like that?
Well, maybe this man doesn’t have the kind of wife and family that a gospel preacher needs to be effective. I respond that this man served as a qualified deacon of the church and his wife is one of the most godly women I have ever met. One of his daughters attended Florida College and another is in high school. Both are Christians. Well, maybe this man is demanding too much money or is too restricted to a certain part of the country. I respond that this man has a retirement income, is willing to work at a part-time job when things get tight and has never demanded anything in the way of money from anybody. He isn’t restricted geographically to anywhere. Well, maybe this man can’t relate to the young people of a congregation. I respond that this man is a favorite of young people and is very social.
Well, maybe this man is one of those preachers who likes to “run the show” and would be difficult to deal with from the standpoint of an eldership. I respond that the reason this man would like to relocate is so he can work with an eldership. He believes the preacher has enough to do without having to do the work of an elder. Well, maybe this man is so old he has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I respond that this gospel preacher is about 50 and in perfect health as is his family.
Well, if all this is true, this man must be holding some silly position on an “issue.” I respond that this preacher stands firm on immodest apparel (he refused a job where the church didn’t want someone that couldn’t put up with a “little immodesty” whatever that is), he preaches the “plain vanilla” truth on divorce and remarriage, he believes Jesus Christ was 100% man and 100% deity while on the earth, he teaches that one must repent to receive forgiveness of sins, he doesn’t stand for the “unity in diversity” error or any of the other “wrong” positions talked about these days.
This gospel preacher has asked some “pillars of the church” about congregations that are “looking for preachers.” He has been told that, in all honesty, he probably just wouldn’t work out at most of those places. This gospel preacher has gone to some congregations and preached in hopes of being offered the job. It hasn’t “worked out.”
By now you must either think I am lying, have some bad information, or am crazy. I am none of these things. Why then would such a man have such a hard time finding a congregation to work with? It seems like there would be a line at his doorstep.
My gospel preacher friend is black. Wonder if that has anything to do with it?
I deny that there are “a number of churches, large and small, now looking for preachers.” There well may be a number of churches looking for white preachers. Maybe we should consider the racial prejudice log in our own eye before standing condemned at judgment. It takes more than talking a good game about loving one another to be pleasing to the King. We shall be known by our fruits.
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 14, p. 10
July 18, 1996