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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Fake News in the Pulpit

By Mario Murillo

Recently, a man of God came to me in the same way Nicodemus came to Jesus one night.  I am not Jesus, and the subject matter in this case was not about being born again.  The similarity had to do with the fact that this man of God wanted to discuss something with me in private.

He said, “Mario, there are many of us who know that you are right about what the left, the media, and democrats are doing to the nation and the church.  But we know that speaking out will cost us tithing members and our non-profit status.”

“How do you feel about your silence?” I asked.  “I feel sick,” he said.  “How sick?” I replied.  He did not answer, but the pain in his eyes showed the depth of his turmoil. This is a good man who sincerely wants to do what is right.

These are the kind of people I am appealing to in this blog, sincere preachers, who honestly do not know how to preach a true and urgent message. By no means am I going to waste time attacking any pastor who has sold out to this culture.  That would be an entirely different blog.

So, I said, “You have no choice, you must speak out.” Then I proceeded to make my points.  I began by getting his attention.  “If what you say to your people every Sunday denies the crisis—provides no positive or practical instruction on how to combat it—then you are preaching fake news.”  

A man or woman of honor will never withhold truth because of personal consequences. Honor has become cheap. Honor is not accommodating the misconceptions of others, nor is it engaging in flattery.  It means courage and loyalty to the truth, no matter what the personal cost.

Preaching must proceed from the things that are important to God, and must not be based on what may or may not offend your audience. There are issues that are urgent to the Lord. He must see that you are willing to discern what is important enough to present to your people. How can you expect God to speak to you if He already knows you are going to run His Word through the unscriptural filter of ‘political correctness?’

By your silence you are taking other people down with you. Does it ever dawn on a preacher that he is actually damaging his audience when he only says what they want to hear? He is not leading them forward. He is not improving their condition or alerting them to danger.

The decision to do this often comes about when the preacher has given in to fear and no longer believes God can change society.  So, the best he can do is mouth soothing words.

David faced the temptation to blurt out his defeatism. Then he realized that the next generation is listening.  In Psalm 73:15 David wrote, “If I were to say, this is how I will speak, behold, I would deceive a generation of Your sons, (O Lord).

This is the biggest reason to speak outbecause there is still time to save the country. The ongoing destruction of freedom of speech, and of religion, has happened because God-haters have marketed a great lie to the masses. Their lie is wearing thin, and, as we have recently seen, their attempts to destroy our freedoms are slowing down very little. So, now is the time to hold their feet to the fire.  We have not yet been driven underground.  We are not yet being forced to secretly signal to one another that we are Christians by drawing fish symbols in the dirt or huddling in the catacombs, as the early church had to do.

Sorry if you don’t think so, but Trump is a merciful reprieve. He is flawed, as all human beings are, but he is one of the only things that stand between us and the Socialist Left who are trying to destroy our freedoms and many issues that matter to you and me…especially the Supreme Court!

 

How can we dare to ignore this opportunity to speak out?

The pulpit is responsible for more of what is wrong with our culture than we want to admit. Charles Finney said that the pulpit was first and foremost to blame for the failure of the church to impact the culture! There should have been a verbal firewall and there wasn’t.  We should have made the case for marriage and the unborn with greater force.  We didn’t.

Finally:  What makes our silence even more embarrassing is that many preachers refuse to preach the truth that their people long to hear. Many are misreading their congregation. Audiences are ready to listen to common sense preaching.  We must seize the moment. 

Jesus said in John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”

You should never speak out on certain controversial issues unless the Spirit of God compels you to. But you are asking too much when you say that God has not moved your heart to speak out about our government’s overreach and its persecution of Christians.

6 “If a watchman sees a sword coming (against a nation) and does not (sound the warning), and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes a soul from them, he is taken in his iniquity. But I will require the blood (of that man) from the hand of the watchman. 7And you, son of man, I have set you as a watchman to the house of Israel. And you shall hear the word from My mouth and warn them from Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, O wicked one, surely you shall die. And you do not speak to warn the wicked one from his ways, that wicked one shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood from your hand. 9 But you, if you warn the wicked from his way, to turn from it, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his own iniquity, but you have delivered your soul.”   −Ezek. 33:6-9

Oh, by the way, the IRS is not going to take away your tax exempt status. Trump overruled the hideous Johnson amendment. So do not hold back. SPEAK OUT!

 

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HOW SHALL WE THEN PREACH?

Are you preaching to what your people actually face? Are you awake to the fact that they are under intense persecution?   The left has morphed into a hideous mob.  How shall we then preach in this unprecedented era of darkness?

Liberals want a New American Civil War. When they tell us they want to silence the church—when they tell us their opinion is the only one allowed—when disagreeing will cost you your rights, your job, and even your life—when they burn buildings, protect killers, and convict innocent people—the church should have no response?  Do we sit back and just give away our freedom of religion and speech?

Having faced with brutal honesty the world of our congregants…how shall we then preach?

There is a story of tyranny in 1 Samuel 11 that answers the question.  Terrorists took control of a city and demanded that the entire city become slaves or face death.  It gets worse.  Just to stay alive every man, woman, and child had to agree to have their right eye removed.

The elders of the city begged for them to hold off 7 days so they could send messengers to get help.  Since the terrorists were spoiling for a fight they agreed.

1 Samuel 11:3 is one of the most chilling verses in scripture because it shows the unimaginable horror the people felt: “Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, ‘Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel.  And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.’”

Put yourself in the place of those men facing the disfigurement of their wives and children.  If you were one of those elders tasked with choosing messengers—what kind of messengers would you choose?  Who would you choose to go get help?

You would not pick smooth talking salesmen.  You would not want a wordsmith or an entertainer.  You dare not send a psychologist or a life coach.

 

They had to go get an army.  They had to make people cry and get angry.  They had to convince people—who might believe this was not their fight—to take a stand.  That is what we need in pulpits now!

The Bible says they went to Gibeah where King Saul was, and everyone who heard them began to weep.  King Saul was filled with holy rage and galvanized the nation to save the people of Jabesh Gilead in a mighty victory.

Who will save us from the disfigurement of America, and the church, by the left?  What kind of preaching shall we choose to loosen the grip of tyranny and regain our freedom?  The same kind of messengers the elders of Jabesh Gilead choose.

Much of the preaching today is of human origin.  It makes the church lifeless and impotent to do battle against the moral landslide in America.  Satan is behind this harmless preaching—preaching that will save no one.

E.M Bounds said, “Another scheme of Satan is to eliminate from the church all the humble, self-denying ordinances that are offensive to unsanctified tastes and unregenerate hearts. He seeks to reduce the church to a mere human institution—popular, natural, fleshly, and pleasing.”
The Holy Spirit is telling you my fellow preacher to face the real world.  He is sending out an urgent appeal: Preach as if they are stealing your country…because they are.  Preach as if your people are suffering under persecution because they are.  Preach as if God is able to make you not just a spokesman but a living weapon.  If you have the heart…God will give you the words.  Time is running out.