For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires…” vs. 52 Timothy 4:1-5
Paul, looking back on decades of ministry, has some sound advice for the young preacher and teacher. “Proclaim the message,” he says, “be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage,” and have patience. What Paul advises is not easy in these divisive times, and some pastors have gotten discouraged. Their heartfelt messages are often not well received–and they’ve discovered quickly that people don’t like to be rebuked or challenged. Partisan political and cultural lines have been drawn, and people have learned to quickly take offense when lines are crossed. And because we live in a time when congregations are adept at adjusting their message to “itching ears,” people can easily find teachers who proclaim a gospel that suits their particular desires. And if the music and youth programs are outstanding, sound doctrine really doesn’t seem to matter. It’s likely that Paul would not have been surprised by the state of the church today–he’d had a boatload of experience with believers who had abandoned his teachings when a more eloquent speaker came along. The good news is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is continuing to be proclaimed and when all this silliness is over, by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, millions of people will be walking in his Way. We’re not in charge!
Thought for the Day: What determines whether I stay or go in a congregation?