By Greg Gwin
The famous denominational preacher Charles Spurgeon complained about a fellow preacher whose sermons he said were “little better than sacred miniature painting” and amounted to “holy trifling.” Spurgeon went on to explain that: “he is great upon the ten toes of the beast, the four faces of the cherubim, the mystical meaning of badgers’ skins, . . . and the windows of Solomon’s temple: but the sins of business men, the temptations of the times, and the needs of the age, he scarcely ever touches upon. Such preaching reminds me of a lion engaged in mouse hunting” (Spurgeon’s Lectures to His Students).
Spurgeon has been dead for nearly 100 years, but the situation has not improved. There’s precious little preaching that addresses the real problem of sin in men’s lives. Most preachers (like Spurgeon himself) teach a perverted doctrine that could not save a man even if he was convicted of his sin. Paul says that they are “accursed” (Gal. 1:9).
Churches of Christ are not immune from this problem. We see more and more of this “pointless preaching.” The test of a preacher’s worth has come to be his ability to entertain and make folks feel good, rather than his ability to proclaim God’s truth in a way that provokes men to obedience. Too many sermons that are preached do not include any information about what one must do to be saved. Such efforts clearly miss the mark. There’s a proper place for words of comfort such as Paul preached (1 Thess. 1:11). But these positive words of peace need to be based on the foundation of true obedience, or else they are meaningless.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 20, p. 623
October 19, 1989