There are a few things all preachers will tell you concerning Christianity. Most all teach there is one Father, One Savior, and One Holy Spirit. Most will tell you Jesus died for your sins. Most will tell you belief and confession in Jesus Christ is essential for salvation. Most will tell you repentance is essential for salvation. Some will tell you baptism is essential for salvation. However, few will tell you the harder things concerning the scripture, and even fewer the whole gospel of Christ. Paul said, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God (Acts 20:26-27). So allow me to be the one to tell you things you’ll need to know before you leave this earth.
No preacher of the gospel is your “Reverend,” “Father,” “Rabbi,” “Pastor, “Friar, ” etc., As Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 23), He noted that they loved to be called “Rabbi” in public. Such elevated them as special men, in some way more righteous and pious than others. The Savior said, “But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your master, even Christ. And all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your master, even Christ” (Matt. 23:8-10). It is also important to note that the psalmist said of God, “Holy and reverend is His name” (Ps. 111:9). When men want to be heralded as “reverend,” they are treading on blasphemous ground.
The organization of most denominations is very complex. Generally, the structure begins with the President of a national board. His headquarters is responsible for overseeing groups of representatives or delegates from different regions. And this continues to branch itself downward into the various congregations. The book of Acts tells us that the disciples went everywhere preaching the word. “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed” (Acts 14:23). Every congregation had its own elders. Peter said to elders, “feed the flock of God which is among you” (1 Pet. 5:2). These leaders were not answerable to some district board, but to the Lord and His word! For Christ is its head (Eph. 1:22).
Every year, more and more women are laying claim to titles of: “Preacher”, “Evangelist” “Elders”, “Deacons”, etc. These women are rebelling against what God says about the role of women in Christ’s church. In 1 Timothy 2:11,12 it is written, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Many preachers will tell you that Paul’s reasoning was based upon that day’s custom and social practice. Such an argument sounds acceptable until we allow Paul to tell us, himself, why he teaches as he does. Hear him: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:13,14).
Did you know that the first Christians sang praises to God without the use of mechanical instruments like organs, pianos and guitars? The Bible instructs, “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart, to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). Did you know that mechanical instruments of music were not introduced into worship until the early 7th century? It is often argued that since David used a harp to praise God, then it is scriptural for Christians to use pianos and drums today. But we will do well to remember that we are not governed by the Mosaic law that governed Old Testament Jews, like David. We live under the New Testament of Jesus Christ! And nowhere does the New Testament tell us that Christians are authorized to use violins and fiddles in their worship. “. . . teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).
Hardy any preachers who will tell you what God says about financing the church’s work. Since most preachers engage in car washes, bake-sales, cake-walks and carnivals to raise funds for their churches, they won’t tell you what the Bible says about “fund raising.” There are two instances in the New Testament of funds being raised so that the church could function. In Acts 5:32-37 we see the saints in Jerusalem selling what they had, and putting the funds into a “treasury.” It is impressive that they would sell what they owned, before they would beg from the unconverted community. The instructions of 1 Corinthians 16 are not much different. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay him in store, as God hath prospered him” (1 Cor. 16:2). Men can devise hundreds of schemes to raise money for the church. The only problem is that God has designed only one: Christians giving on Sunday, in proportion to the blessings of the previous week.
Many preachers peddle the false doctrine of ‘faith only’. If preachers would be content to tell us that salvation is by faith, they would be speaking in harmony with the Bible. However, most feel a need to insist that man is saved by ‘faith only’. What saith the scripture? “You see then how that by works a man is justified and not by ‘faith only’ ” (James 2:24). Be impressed that the only time the phrase, “faith only,” is found in the Bible, we are being told that we are not justified by “faith only.” Indeed, faith that does not motivate one to work, is not a saving faith. Plainly said, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). If modern preachers desire to speak “as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11), they need to eliminate talk of salvation by “faith only” and start walking the walk of salvation of “faith and baptism” as Jesus commanded his apostles to preach unto all the world (Mk 16:15,16).
Too many preachers are involved with the affairs of this world and forsaken the Word of God (2 Tim 2:4). They are preaching political rhetoric as opposed to the unadulterated word of truth (2 Tim 4:2-5). If we are truly the citizens of heaven, it’s time we deal with only the law of God which was settled in heaven (Philip 3:20 f; Ps 119:89). Which hope we have before the world began (Tit 1:2). Yes, we are to obey the laws of the land and give honor to all leaders (Rom 13:1-7 f; 1 Pet 2:17). However, we are not called to be soldiers of man, but rather soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 2:3).
Yes, all faithful Christians will be persecuted for the cause of Christ (2 Tim 3:12). To this end Christians should not be ashamed, but should glorify God that they are counted worthy to suffer for the cause of Christ and walk in his steps (1 Pet 4:16 f; 1 Pet 2:20,21). Yes, all faithful Christians will be tried but if they over come, they shall receive a crown of life (Jam 1:12). And if judgment begins with faithful Christians, imagine the horror which awaits those who obey not the gospel of God (1 Pet 4:17).
Conclusion: Paul wrote to Timothy, “Take heed unto yourself and unto the doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:16). Preachers, of all men, have an obligation to stand firm upon what God has revealed in His word. It is a shame when they refuse to speak only where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the bible is silent and not go beyond that which was written (Rev 22:18,19 f; 1 Cor 4:6). The grave danger inherent, is that people will assume that their preacher speaks “the whole counsel of God” while he is whittling the word down to nothing but meaningless trivialities.
Indeed, many preachers offer college degrees, soothing speeches and a firm handshake. However, few give us the pure, uncompromised word of God. Jesus verily said, “Howbeit, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mk 7:7).