It seems, these days, that a great many of “our” preachers want to be experts in everything except preaching the Gospel! We have “experts” running around the country promoting (for a fee, of course) such things as, “How to Increase Contributions” in “Three Unusual Days,” “How to Increase Attendance with “Busing,” Showing movies in the church “building” (recently the attraction was King Kong ‘bring your own popcorn and pop), Special programs for different age groups, “divorced folk and singles.” And so on it goes, ad infinitum!
Just now a favorite “expert field” anong many of “our” preachers is called Counseling. They advertise themselves as Counselors and specialists in Mental Heath. It has become a mania for a great segment of men who purport to be “Gospel” preachers. Brother Idus England recently addressed himself to the problem—and a problem it is—as follows:
In the May 6, 1980 Daily Oklahoman, an article titled, “Lawsuits Send Clergy Scurrying for Malpractice Insurance,” points up a new low in America’s attitude toward religion and an equally low base of operations for “clergy.” The suit was initiated by a Catholic couple whose son had sought help from a Protestant church before committing suicide. The couple sued the church and its “pastor” for wrongful death, negligence, outrageous conduct, and “clergy” malpractice.
The thing that is so alarming about all this is the attitude back of it that would prompt such people to do such things, and the attitude of “clergy” who are more concerned about social ills than they are about preaching the Gospel. (Of course, if they were preaching the Gospel, they would not be “clergy”).
There is another point here that strikes closer to home than many realize. Many of “our own” people disagree with me, but so be it! A lot of “preaching” brethren have spent more time in qualifying themselves to be counselors (in some cases to meet civil and state requirements) than in studying the word of God to preach the Gospel! The work of a preacher is still, “Preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). And the Gospel is still “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16).
Some feel that we cannot properly teach folks with problems, unless we have experienced their problems. But one does not have to be a reformed drunk, immoralist, or thief to know that the Bible condemns these things. Nor does he have to have a PhD in philosophy or psychology to know what the Bible teaches as to man’s real needs! We are not knocking education, as such, but we pray for the time when all preachers, regardless of their educational backgrounds, will learn that their work is to make the soul right with God. Then the person taught can usually, (1) correct his own problems, (2) learn to live with them as long as they do not conflict with his Christian living (such as consequences of past mistakes) or, (3) seek professional help from those who deal with these problems that have a scientific angle.
Any problem that a preacher cannot solve with a “Thus saith the Lord,” he should leave alone. And for those “clergy” (brethren, or whoever) who involved themselves outside the “work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5), let them buy their own “Malpractice Insurance” and face the possible consequences.
Amen! When preachers get back to doing what God intended for them to do, and leave the “doctoring” to those who really know how to do it, then everybody will be better off! The same holds true for all the other “experts” and “promoters” who sail under the false colors of preaching the word, but who are, in reality, nothing more than religious racketeers!