By Connie W. Adams
Have you noticed how gospel preachers are often influenced by the buzz words of the news media? We are no longer in danger of anything, we are all “at risk” of this or that. There are no more divisions into parts, we have a “dichotomy.” We don’t reach conclusions any more, we now have “the bottom line.” “At this point in time” has replaced the simple now, or “at this point.” We have stopped preaching to people, now it is “Oh, I just have to share this with you.” There have always been those who would not accept the truth when it was faithfully preached, so I guess these did not “share” with us after all. Don’t get me wrong. Our speech must be adapted to the understanding of the people we instruct but are we obligated to make the message sound trite by wearing out hackneyed expressions from the news people?
Jude warned of those who “speak evil of dignities” (v. 8). They are contemptuous of rulers. While I do not know of any brethren who would deliberately belittle God or angelic beings, I do see a flippant attitude sometimes toward those who are worthy of greater respect. One brother described Jesus as “an ordinary guy like you and me.” He has since apologized for using that expression (“ordinary guy”) though other writings from the same brother present a different picture of the nature of Jesus than Scripture does. Not long ago another brother wrote a bulletin article about Jesus and entitled it “A Guy Without Credentials.” Webster gives as a third meaning for guy “man, fellow.” The other definitions are far less complimentary. Look it up for yourself. I have heard preachers who, in trying to make Bible characters real to the audience, refer to Abraham, Noah, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter and yes, Jesus our Lord with this term. While we ought to speak to the common man, should we not seek to elevate his understanding of the noble characters who are presented in the Bible as worthy of our emulation? The world is already too casual regarding sacred things and biblical characters. Let’s do all we can to hold them up as worthy of honor before a mocking world. How can we hope to bring the world into submission to him who is “King of kings and Lord of lords,” who has “all authority in heaven and on earth” and before whom “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess” when we speak flippantly of him as “this guy.” Think about it.
With the collapse of communism and the opening of doors around the world for the gospel to be preached, the reports coming from many fields are cause for great rejoicing. The work is not easy. Some are meeting firm resistance from false religions, deeply entrenched atheism, or scornful cynics. But some are listening to the gospel. There are now two faithful congregations in Moscow. One brother has justreturned from an encouraging trip to the Ukraine where those with whom he studied begged for more teaching. A brother writes from Cairo, Egypt about a congregation of about 25 meeting in his home. That is against the law there and I will not endanger him by naming him. He is a diplomat. Reports continue to come in from China about new converts and the maturing of earlier ones as these Christians assume more and more responsibility for their future evangelism and growth. Reports are often published in The Preceptor from the Spanish speaking fields. There are many baptisms reported as well as evidences of growth spiritually among the congregations. I recently received a call from David Bunting saying that nine had recently been baptized in Vilnius, Lithuania and that someone was urgently needed to go there and work among these new converts. David was there last fall with his father, Tom Bunting of Bergen, Norway. Steve Wallace, Derek Chancellor and Harry Osborne have all preached there and spent many days distributing literature on the street and conducting follow-up studies.
While we rejoice in all of that, let us not forget those laboring in needy areas of this country and Canada. There are many neglected fields right here in this country. There is always drama and excitement about good news from afar. But the gospel is for all, including lost souls in the U.S.A. “To the work.”
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 6, p. 3-4
March 18, 1993