WHY TRUE PREACHING MATTERS NOW MORE THAN EVER

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there: in her fertile land, and boundless prairies, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great” (Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835).

Comte De Tocqueville was one of the brightest minds of his time: a French aristocrat, diplomat, political scientist, and historian. He cut through the veneer and identified preaching as the prime source of our genius. Think of that. He pinpointed the fire in our pulpits as the source of our greatness!

Our recent blog, about the feeble response of Christian leaders to the present madness in America, was widely accepted by believers, and just as widely rejected by leaders—celebrity leaders. Perhaps Tocqueville’s quote may help you understand why I hold them responsible for our national debacle. My severity toward them is not because I have a low opinion of pastors, it is because I have a high opinion of preaching. Like Alexis de Tocqueville, I believe anointed preaching to be the true source of our greatness, and bad preaching to be the true source of our weakness.

 

Preaching was never supposed to be like this, but it has been shallow for the last 25 years. It was supposed to convict, convince, equip, and launch disciples into secular society. Instead, modern preaching echoed what the world was already saying. Instead of bringing powerful Christians to a hurting world, these preachers brought the dysfunction of the world to believers. Modern preaching did not equip, but instead, it enabled. It did not utterly denounce sin—it negotiated with it, creating birth-defective converts.

The American church de Tocqueville encountered in 1835 had fire in the pulpit. It is because we do not have that fire in our pulpits today, that we have fires in our streets. Because preachers choose to tell soothing stories instead of proclaiming Truth, our young people believe lies and honor truly stupid ideas and follow truly evil leaders.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” Was there ever a hope, in our current church climate of creating sanctified hearts who could give answers?

I stand accused of being too hard on American preachers. I am rejected for placing too high a responsibility for our current disaster on their shoulders. Some of their whining baffles me. Celebrity preachers cannot have it both ways. They are the ones who accepted the lofty praise, superstar status, and wealth. Like athletes who got the big contract—these preachers were expected to perform. But when it came to saving a nation from wickedness, they were a bitter let down.  You don’t call yourself “the anointed vessel for this hour”—and then fizzle, in this, America’s darkest hour.

Charles Finney wrote, “Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.” (The Decay of Conscience, 1873)

Perhaps the only cure for such preaching is to depopularize it and defund it. Perhaps the fault lies as much with the fans of these preachers. In my book, Vessels of Fire and Glory, I wrote about the Contaminated Crowd. They are described in glaring detail in 2 Timothy 4:2-4, “Proclaim the Word. Keep your sense of urgency in season and out of season. Reprove, admonish, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not tolerate sound instruction, but having ears itching (for something pleasing), they will gather to themselves teachers chosen to satisfy their own lusts, and will turn aside from hearing the Truth and wander off into man-made myths.”

There is a reason that so much preaching today is festooned with props, smoke, emotionalism and entertainment. Small wonder that the slightest manifestation of the Spirit is touted as a miracle. It is no surprise that repentance is seldom if ever called for. The devil has seen to it that the American Church was totally unprepared for the multiple onslaughts unleashed against it in 2020.

And yet, there is a glorious sign on the horizon! There is a hint that actual preaching may return. There are young men and women displaying dangerous tendencies, such as reading revival history. Young leaders are disenchanted with the attraction-church model. They are asking threatening questions, desiring old ways—the ways that dislodge devils and release true signs and wonders.

God is stirring hearts, disrupting plans and driving young leaders to the kind of fire we need—the fire that can make America good and great, once again.

 

 

 

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WHAT ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE WHO WILL DIE?

Few seem to be talking about the death toll that may result if the economy remains shut longer than it should.  And how many have already died? I reject the notion that wanting to reopen America puts “profits over people.” I see some on the Left putting political agenda over people.

Lives Depend on Economic Activity. When you stop that, then you kill people. Before we insist on totally destroying the American economy, we must weigh the risk of reopening businesses—because there is always risk—against the risk of not reopening. We must not allow fear, induced by those with hidden motives, to bring us to disaster.

Remember the forecasts that virus-related death-totals for the United States would range from as high as 10 million, to a low of 2.2 million?  Thank God they were so, so wrong. Of course any death is too much death but we must separate fact from fiction. To stay shut until there is zero threat is unrealistic. That day will never come. But something will come if we stay shut too long. The danger is, hardly anyone is talking about the other calamity that may doom our nation. Thank God some are talking about it.

Thomas K. Duncan, Ph.D., an associate professor of economics at Radford University, and Audrey Redford Ph.D., the assistant professor of economics at Western Carolina University wrote an article entitled: How Shutting Down The Economy Much Longer Could Kill Tens Of Thousands Of Americans.

The article appeared in The Federalist March 30, 2020.  Here is an excerpt from their article:

“The recession could be longer than some economists are projecting. If the economy does linger in its downturn, the human costs to the shutdown will inevitably begin to increase.”

The article suggests that there could possibly be “28,797 More Deaths from Opioids,” based on the following calculations:

“A 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research paper finds a 3.6% increase in the opioid death rate per 100,000 people (when there is a) 1% rise in unemployment. There were 14.6 opioid death rates per 100,000 in the United States in 2018. If we use the more conservative estimate of a 20% unemployment rate without a quick return to lower levels, then there would be an estimated 59.4% rise in deaths per 100,000, leading to an increase of 8.7 deaths for a total of 23.3 for opioids.”

If unemployment were to increase, then so would both suicide and homicide:

“The deaths related to economic downturns go beyond those from chemical dependency, also. The mental toll is not inconsequential. For example, Blakely, et al, (2003) finds that being unemployed may also increase the risk of suicide two to threefold. Milner, et al. (2014) similarly finds that unemployment is associated with a higher relative risk of suicide, with prior mental health issues being a key factor in that association. While a study by Kerr, et al, (2018) did not find that unemployment is directly linked to suicides, it did find a significant link between poverty, suicide, and alcoholism.

“With our estimated 16.5% rise in unemployment, we could see a significant increase in both property and violent crimes. The violent crime also may add to the death toll in this period.”

After reading the article, I came to a conclusion: I do not want to risk anyone’s life. We should stay home until it is reasonably safe. But our definition of safety must be weighed against the risk of death from listening to leftists who have other goals.

It is far too tempting for the Left. They have demonstrated a passion for three things to happen:

  1. They want desperately, above all else, for Trump to lose the election.
  2. They want to replace Free Market Capitalism with Socialism.
  3. And they want to weaken the church.

In order to accomplish these three goals, they have also demonstrated an amoral viciousness in their remarks against Trump and his handling of the virus pandemic. They simply can’t be trusted or allowed to make such a critical decision as reopening.

No one can look inside the heart of someone and truly know what goes on there. Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” We already know they believe America is so unfair and stupid that they will blame the failure of the economy on Trump and not on the virus.

But who knows? Their hatred may go deep enough to cheer on the destruction of our economy, just so the chaos will birth Socialism.  Or, that the devastation will close churches for good.

Here’s the one I want to focus on. I personally know of many churches that cannot afford to stay closed much longer. I also expect that even if the arc of viral infection flattens, Blue State Governors will still push for keeping churches closed. 

Sadly, theologically challenged believers will dismiss the notion that churches will be permanently closed because of this. They will quote Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Of course, the universal church of Christ will not go out of existence, but I know congregations and pastors who will have to shut their doors if this economic shutdown goes on much longer.

To say that churches can’t be shut down for good is to deny the existence of underground churches all over the world that have already lost their rights and their buildings.

Churches provide a necessary healing gift. They stop suicide. Faith based ministries rescue people from dying every day. Only God knows if any have died since drug programs and outreach ministries have been shut down. There is no way to replace the human touch online.


If the virus becomes an open-ended political excuse—relying on models that are leftist and not scientific—then we have to do some deep soul searching. If we see our leaders are willing to allow the deaths that we know will happen from a dead economy—and closed churches—because they want to prevent the ones that might happen, then it’s no longer prudence, it’s politics.

Agree with me in fervent prayer for President Donald Trump. When to reopen America will be the hardest and greatest decision of his entire career. Pray for wisdom greater than any human intellect.

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE WHO WILL DIE?

Few seem to be talking about the death toll that may result if the economy remains shut longer than it should.  I reject the notion that wanting to reopen America puts “profits over people.” I see some on the Left putting political agenda over people.

Lives Depend on Economic Activity. When you stop that, then you kill people. Before we insist on totally destroying the American economy, we must weigh the risk of reopening businesses—because there is always risk—against the risk of not reopening. We must not allow fear, induced by those with hidden motives, to bring us to disaster.

Remember the forecasts that virus-related death-totals for the United States would range from as high as 10 million, to a low of 2.2 million?  Thank God they were so, so wrong. Of course any death is too much death but we must separate fact from fiction. To stay shut until there is zero threat is unrealistic. That day will never come. But something will come if we stay shut too long. The danger is, hardly anyone is talking about the other calamity that may doom our nation. Thank God some are talking about it.

Thomas K. Duncan, Ph.D., an associate professor of economics at Radford University, and Audrey Redford Ph.D., the assistant professor of economics at Western Carolina University wrote an article entitled: How Shutting Down The Economy Much Longer Could Kill Tens Of Thousands Of Americans.

The article appeared in The Federalist today, March 30, 2020.  Here is an excerpt from their article:

“The recession could be longer than some economists are projecting. If the economy does linger in its downturn, the human costs to the shutdown will inevitably begin to increase.”

The article suggests that there could possibly be “28,797 More Deaths from Opioids,” based on the following calculations:

“A 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research paper finds a 3.6% increase in the opioid death rate per 100,000 people (when there is a) 1% rise in unemployment. There were 14.6 opioid death rates per 100,000 in the United States in 2018. If we use the more conservative estimate of a 20% unemployment rate without a quick return to lower levels, then there would be an estimated 59.4% rise in deaths per 100,000, leading to an increase of 8.7 deaths for a total of 23.3 for opioids.”

If unemployment were to increase, then so would both suicide and homicide:

“The deaths related to economic downturns go beyond those from chemical dependency, also. The mental toll is not inconsequential. For example, Blakely, et al, (2003) finds that being unemployed may also increase the risk of suicide two to threefold. Milner, et al. (2014) similarly finds that unemployment is associated with a higher relative risk of suicide, with prior mental health issues being a key factor in that association. While a study by Kerr, et al, (2018) did not find that unemployment is directly linked to suicides, it did find a significant link between poverty, suicide, and alcoholism.

“With our estimated 16.5% rise in unemployment, we could see a significant increase in both property and violent crimes. The violent crime also may add to the death toll in this period.”

After reading the article, I came to a conclusion: I do not want to risk anyone’s life. We should stay home until it is reasonably safe. But our definition of safety must be weighed against the risk of death from listening to leftists who have other goals.

It is far too tempting for the Left. They have demonstrated a passion for three things to happen:

  1. They want desperately, above all else, for Trump to lose the election.
  2. They want to replace Free Market Capitalism with Socialism.
  3. And they want to weaken the church.

In order to accomplish these three goals, they have also demonstrated an amoral viciousness in their remarks against Trump and his handling of the virus pandemic. They simply can’t be trusted or allowed to make such a critical decision as reopening.

No one can look inside the heart of someone and truly know what goes on there. Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” We already know they believe America is so unfair and stupid that they will blame the failure of the economy on Trump and not on the virus.

But who knows? Their hatred may go deep enough to cheer on the destruction of our economy, just so the chaos will birth Socialism.  Or, that the devastation will close churches for good.

Here’s the one I want to focus on. I personally know of many churches that cannot afford to stay closed much longer. I also expect that even if the arc of viral infection flattens, Blue State Governors will still push for keeping churches closed. 

Sadly, theologically challenged believers will dismiss the notion that churches will be permanently closed because of this. They will quote Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Of course, the universal church of Christ will not go out of existence, but I know congregations and pastors who will have to shut their doors if this economic shutdown goes on much longer.

To say that churches can’t be shut down for good is to deny the existence of underground churches all over the world that have already lost their rights and their buildings.

Churches provide a necessary healing gift. They stop suicide. Faith based ministries rescue people from dying every day. Only God knows if any have died since drug programs and outreach ministries have been shut down. There is no way to replace the human touch online.


If the virus becomes an open-ended political excuse—relying on models that are leftist and not scientific—then we have to do some deep soul searching. If we see our leaders are willing to allow the deaths that we know will happen from a dead economy—and closed churches—because they want to prevent the ones that might happen, then it’s no longer prudence, it’s politics.

Agree with me in fervent prayer for President Donald Trump. When to reopen America will be the hardest and greatest decision of his entire career. Pray for wisdom greater than any human intellect.