By Keith Ward
Dale Carnegie was not a gospel preacher. Dale Carnegie promotes the very “persuasive words of wisdom” that Paul disdained. Dale Carnegie’s purpose is to teach one to effectively package and sell himself and/or a product. The gospel is not a product but a way of life. Dale Carnegie’s methods are the age-old techniques taught by the sophist rhetoricians of Paul’s day and rejected by Paul as improper tools for grounding men’s faith in God.
One problem with churches today is members who have been “Dale Carnegied” into the church or to some preacher. These members steadily influence the church into becoming a social club which gives offense to none.
The gospel is power, and conversion is violent – born anew, crucified, put to death, transformed. Many will be offended and turned away by the sword that circumcises the hearts of some. When a preacher or church stops offending, he has ceased to follow the Master who came “not to send peace but a sword,” and often offended men. In fact, when the disciples told Jesus that the Pharisees were offended, instead of apologizing or smoothing ruffled feathers, Jesus called them blind guides (Mt. 15:12). Lest we deceive ourselves into thinking that Jesus used some divine insight which we cannot exercise and, consequently, have no right to imitate Him in this, let us note that this is the very content that led Jesus to teach that evil comes from the heart (Mt. 15:19). Or perhaps the parallel thought of Matthew 7:18, 20 is clearer, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” and “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.” People “won and influenced” into the church have not even seen the cross much less taken it up, and they will be the death of the church.
All that brother Whiteside said against preachers who are “good mixers” applies to the current desire for preachers who will sell and smile “prospects” into the baptistry then “follow-up” the sale by flattering them into attendance (see Doctrinal Discourses, “Anvil Sparks”).
God save us, many such “clients” (a prospect who has been sold is a client) have reached leadership positions in the churches. That they have is in itself a comment on preachers and members who would rather avoid offending others than to demand adherence to the qualifications. Business acumen and social position often count more than piety when these are selected. I will not dignify them with the title of elder or deacon, nor demean the name Christian by applying it to these unconverted men. Truly, “the night is far spent” and it is time for soldiers of Christ to “put on the armor of light.”
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 8, p. 241
April 21, 1983