By Bill Robinson, Jr.
An esteemed friend, who is neither cynical or grumpy, astutely observes that most folks (including many Christians) are more interested in having a pep rally than they are in having sound preaching when it comes to gospel meetings. Looking at the titles in a religious book store these days one soon learns that my friend’s perception may not be all that blurred.
I have read a good number of books by popular authors of the so-called positive mental attitude (PMA) philosophy. Some of the material is good but I seldom if ever recommend it because a vast majority of it leaves the impression one can manipulate God through prayer or one can think himself into spirituality by positive thinking. Furthermore, a lot of what I read is nothing more than an attempt to deify man and humanize God (Rom. 1:20-22).
Frankly, I am a little alarmed when brethren start quoting Swindoll, Wiersbe and other popular denominational writers of our day more than the Bible. Furthermore, it is disturbing to think that some brethren would miss an assembling of the church in order to hear a Zig Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peale or Charles Swindoll seminar. In fact it is down right disgusting to hear some brethren talk in such glowing terms and accolades about how such blatant false teachers as Ziglar, Wiersbe, Swindoll, Peale, etc. are motivational; especially, when they look down their noses at good faithful, godly men who for the pure love of truth have sacrificed to preach and defend it.
Answer for yourself brethren, do the Wiersbes, Swindolls, Ziglars and Peales of this world fit the class of men Paul was talking about when he wrote, “Brethren, be ye imitators together of me, and mark them that so walk even as ye have us for an ensample”? Or do they fit in the category of those who “are the enemy of the cross of Christ: whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Phil. 3:17-19)?
If we fail to live by the principle that nothing but the preaching of the gospel will save men from their sins then we are sure to die by it (Rom. 1:16)! It was the preaching of the gospel which brought the church into existence in the First Century (Acts 2:16-47). It was by the preaching of the word that obedient penitent believers were added unto the Lord in the First Century (Acts 11:22ff). Furthermore, it was through the preaching of the gospel in the First Century that men surrendered their will to the Lord being baptized for the remission of sins and went on their way rejoicing (Acts 8:26-38; 16:30-34). The meaning of the cross of Christ and His glorious resurrection provided the motivation – such a message was presented “not with excellency of speech or of wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:1).
Brethren, it is high time we got more emotional over the message instead of the messenger! When, and if, we do then we will be motivated to properly imitate those men whom the apostle encouraged – namely, those who love the message and who have willingly sacrificed to preach and defend it as it is “the power of God.” We do not need pep rallies to psyche us up about the religion of Christ – we need commitment to get involved in the religion of Christ, reviving in our hearts a genuine love for plain gospel preaching!
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 16, p. 494
August 20, 1987