By Donald Townsley
The word of God has much to say about preachers and preaching. The New Testament says much about the qualifications of men who preach the gospel. Men who preach should be Christians in the fullest sense of the word. They must: (1) Be careful students of the word of God (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:13,16); (2) Be “apt to teach” (2 Tim. 2:24-25; Acts 20:20); (3) Be impartial in the dealings with people (1 Tim. 5:21); (4) Not seek the glory of men (Gal. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:6); (5) Be pure in life (1 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 5:2); (6) Not be lovers of money or covetous (1 Thess. 2:5); (7) Be blameless in behavior (1 Thess. 2: 10); (8) Be bold in their preaching (1 Thess. 2:2); (9) Be gentle and have affection for people (1 Thess. 2:7-8); (10) Not handle the word of God deceitfully (2 Cor. 4:2); and (11) Rebuke sin in all its forms (2 Tim. 4:2).
The above is a partial list of what men who preach are to be and not to be. I also think we need some teaching on the subject of men who should not preach. Let us look at this subject and make a list, with the gospel as our guide, of men who should not preach.
1. Men who do not love God supremely and do not put Him first in their lives, should not preach (Matt. 22:37).
2. Men who do not know the will of God should not preach (Acts 22:14; Eph. 5:17).
3. Men who are afraid to preach the “whole counsel of God” should not preach (Acts 20:26-27).
4. Men who have a desire or need to please men (and strive to do so) should not preach (Gal. 1:10).
5. Men who see preaching as a way to make gain should not preach (2 Pet. 2:3; Tit. 1:11).
6. Men who will not pay their honest debts should not preach (Rom. 12:17).
7. Men who have “eyes full of adultery” (2 Pet. 2:14), who “creep into houses” (2 Tim. 3:6) and beguile unstable women (2 Pet. 2:14) into adultery should not preach (1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Tim. 5:2).
8. Men who do not set a godly example before others should not preach (1 Tim. 4:12).
9. Men who love to have preeminence and cannot work under godly elders should not preach (2 John 9; Heb. 13:17).
10. Men who do not love the brethren should not preach (John 13:34-35).
11. Men who are “eaten up with jealousy” of other preachers, elders, and brethren should not preach (Gal. 5:20-21).
12. Men who are given to hate, revenge, and bitterness should not preach (Eph. 4:31; Rom. 12:19).
13. Men who cannot learn contentment should not preach (1 Tim. 6:6-8; Phil. 4:10-11).
14. Men whose wives are discontent, worldly, jealous, carry gossip, or who have no real devotion to the Cause of Christ should not preach (1 Tim. 2:9-10; Tit. 2:4-5; 1 John 2:15-16).
15. Men who are not willing to make real sacrifice should not preach (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:3).
16. Men who are not able to “bear up” under constant problems should not preach (2 Tim. 4:5; 2:3).
17. H. Leo Boles said: “No hypocrite can preach the truth of God with the power and persuasion that should ever accompany the preaching of the gospel.” “No preacher can preach the gospel as it should be preached unless he preaches because his heart is in the work, and not for ‘filthy lucre’s sake,’ but of a ready mind” (Gospel Advocate, March 31, 1932).
18. Men who are not willing to “take hold” and deal with vital subjects which directly affect his hearers in the workplace, in business, home, and social life – subjects like honesty, immodesty, fornication, drinking, cursing, divorce and remarriage, etc. should not preach (Rom. 12:17; 1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Cor. 6:18; Matt. 19:9; Gal. 5:19-21).
19. Men who cannot preach the vital truths of the gospel just as stern and unrelenting as they are written in opposition to error and sin, week-in and week-out, should not preach (2 Tim. 4:2-5).
20. Men who can be “bluffed off” preaching what needs to be preached by guilty members who “squirm” under the fire of the gospel of Christ, should not preach (2 Tim. 4:2-4).
21. Men who will not deal with vital issues that face God’s people should not preach (1 Tim. 4:1-6).
Let us conclude this article in the words of H. Leo Boles:
“If churches today are to continue their mission, they must be taught . . . by preachers who are clothed with the humility of Christ and have the courage of their convictions. All the churches should be praying that God will give us Godfearing, truth-loving, earnest, faithful men for preachers and teachers of His word” (Gospel Advocate, April 7, 1932).
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 7, p. 208
April 2, 1987