Monday, November 26, 2007
Which came first?
Let's play a game!
Which came first? The chicken or the egg? (the chicken!); The man or the woman (it depends if there is a mall nearby!) (just kidding! man!); The Book of Habakkuk or the Book of Jacob? (Habakkuk, there is no book of Jacob!); Photocopiers or Fax machines? (Fax machines by over a century!); Morse code or Braille? (braille in 1824, MC in 1838); Dry cleaning or Blue Jeans? (dry cleaning in 1855, blue jeans in 1873); Insulin or Penicillin? (insulin in 1821, penicillin in 1843); and one more question...
Which came first? Poor preaching or poor teaching from seminaries?
Okay, the Bible teaches about the Synagogue of Satan in Rev 2:9 and 3:9. It also talks about false teachers, false apostles. But I want to bring it up to our current lifetime. How effective have our seminaries been in training up pastors? I guess that depends on which seminaries we are talking about. While I do not have extensive data for proof, but rather, my own opinions, there are good ones out there like Master's Seminary (John MacArthur) and on the other end of the spectrum there are extremely bad ones out there like...
(okay, so I chickened out on actually naming one here -- don't want to get sued! if you email me and ask my opinion, I will be happy to tell you). One more thing, I know that Foghorn Leghorn is not a chicken! I just liked his picture!
It has gotten to the point where poor teaching and poor preaching abounds. Most likely because it is so easy to do. When I went through my training, I actually had a class where the professor told a joke every day. They were ones that he liked to use behind the pulpit. Of course, when I got my own church, I had to use them to make people laugh! I wanted to be funny -- never mind about being serious about sin and repentance, I had to be funny! (I've said it before and I will say it again, it was to my shame that I had to be funny!) I know there are people out there that say that joke telling isn't so bad (because they use them). No, joke telling isn't bad in the right situation and in the right place. But I have to warn you that if you rely on telling jokes to make people relaxed and happy, then what are you going to do when God's Word starts to get heavy and convicting? Will you tell more jokes to relax them? Just remember that people should be coming to church to "worship" the Almighty God! They are coming to give their thanks to God for sending His Son to die on the cross for each one of us. They are coming to share in fellowship with other believers (a commonality to lift one another up -- Remember my chains!), they do not need to come to hear the latest jokes. They can download them on the Internet if they want to. I am sure that Jesus had a sense of humor, but when it came time to talk about hell and heaven, it was serious. What must you do to be saved? Why haven't you repented of your sins? Are you ready to go to hell? (is now a good time to tell a joke?)
Please, please, learn from my mistakes. I have told 100's of jokes (I would say thousands, but like so many pastor's, I forget which ones I have already told so I am doomed to repeat them!) from the pulpit. You have to be soooo strong in God's Word and in your own personal walk because you better believe that Satan will use that joke telling pastor as a way of softening the gospel. He will use those jokes as a way of blocking the church members from being able to remember what the sermon was about or what Scripture was read. It is Monday, can you remember what Scripture was read yesterday in church? If your pastor told a joke, can you remember the joke? If you remember the joke more than the Scripture then I pray for that pastor because he is going to be held accountable for what he is teaching God's people.
So, is the seminary responsible for what kind of pastor's they put out into the world? yes and no! They are responsible for what they are teaching. They are responsible for what they are modeling to the classes. They are responsible for the example they set for everyone else. But the person attending the school is responsible for what they do and say behind the pulpit. God will not say to them, "I know, it is the fault of the seminary, that is why you are weak in your knowledge." No! We are each responsible to get into God's Word. We are each personally responsible for taking the knowledge we gain and taking it out into the world to reach the lost. How many professors at seminary are out reaching the lost? The one's I know -- NONE! What does that tell you about their love for Jesus and God's Word? What does that tell you about their desire to fulfill the Great Commission? What does that tell you about their love of their neighbor that is headed for hell? See, if the administrators of the Seminaries would hold their professors more accountable and make sure they are truly living their lives as a Christian "SHOULD", I think you would find much better results coming out of our seminaries and much better preaching would be the result behind the pulpits. And if you are getting much better preaching you will also see much better results from the church members in their growth and their ability to go out and reach the lost the way Jesus did!
Which came first? The chicken or the egg?
Let's stop playing games! If you know someone who desires to go to a Seminary, please make sure they do some research first. When you walk on a campus, take time to ask the people walking around these important questions...
1. Why are you a Christian?
2. What does it take to be saved?
3. How many people have you personally witnessed to this past month?
The answers will probably surprise you! From both the teachers and the students. Which came first?
(the above comments are somewhat found in my latest book titled, "Locked Doors of the American Church." It takes a hard look at Seminaries, Bishops and Church Hierarchy, Pastors, Elders, Church members and non church attending members and non Christians.)