Don’t Preach to their Ears!

In all generations useful preachers of the gospel have been objected to by a portion of the community. . . . He who hopes to preach so as to please everybody must be newly come to the ministry; and he who aims at such an object would do well speedily to leave its ranks.

Men must and will cavil and object; it is their nature to do so. John {the Baptist} came neither eating or drinking; … nothing could be alleged against his habits … but his excellence was made his fault, and they said, “He has a devil.” Jesus Christ came eating and drinking, living as a man among men; and … they libeled him as “a drunken man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.”

Neither the herald nor his Master suited the wayward taste of their contemporaries. Like children playing in the marketplace, {they} would not agree about what the game should be … They rejected the messengers because they loved not the God who sent them, and they only pretended to object to the men because they dared not a vow their enmity to their Master. Hence the objections were often in consistent and contradictory, and always frivolous and vexations.

Filled with the same spirit of contrariety, the men of this world still depreciate the ministers whom God sends them and profess that they would gladly listen if different preachers could be found. Nothing can please them, their cavils are dealt out with heedless universality.

Cephas is too blunt, Apollos is too flowery, Paul is too argumentative, Timothy is too young, James is too severe, John is too gentle. Nevertheless, wisdom is justified ofall her children … If his honesty may not be suspected, nor his zeal questioned, not his power denied, sneer at him and call him eccentric, and it may be the arrow will wound.

C/f: John Gilmore, Pastoral Politics (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2002), 174.

Categories: Church Life

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