Saturday, January 23, 2010

Speaking FOR the crowd (praise of men)

What is a 'man-pleaser'? Do you picture the person who preaches or writes in order to NOT step on anyone's toes? Is it limited to a seeker-friendly 'get your best life now' false teacher?
I beg every minister, every teacher, every blogger and whoever else (including the crowd) to consider that ANYONE could be a man-pleaser.
Regardless of how you express yourself, regardless of your beliefs, it's quite simple to find and generate a 'crowd'. The 'crowd' could be within any theological framework, because the crowd are those who share common convictions or objections with you. There are those who find all their enjoyment in 'exposing' things, those who talk nothing but the five points of Calvinism, those who adhere to all things under the banner of 'missional', those who seek to learn and hear something new, those who anticipate nothing but a style of humor, those who care for nothing but eschatological debate (and those who care for nothing but to debate), and those who are evangelical mainstream, those who are reformed mainstream, those who are evangelical anti-mainstream etc.
Let's take 'hard' preaching for example. Perhaps you've heard of a Pastor who preaches 'hard', and you go to that church and as you were told he really nailed his points with powerfully convicting doctrine, BUT once you've been there for a while you begin to notice a pattern, something is missing. That 'missing' thing, is application that actually confronts something the people don't ALREADY stand for. It takes no special courage to preach boldly to a small gathering of Calvinists who each carry Calvin's commentaries on their i-phone's concerning the problems with Arminians, altar calls, and the sinners prayer, while NEVER confronting issues like how to still love such brethren and even help them or the dangers of falling into apathy concerning the lost etc.
Likewise it would prove fruitless for a pastor to consistently tear down the flaws (the MANY flaws) of the public school system and the need to disciple children , when the church consists of nothing but people who are already doing that! Yet the problem arises when that preacher or person never CONFRONTS the common errors or extremes of such a stand, like the need to constantly guard against being satisfied by your children being well-mannered and able to quote Romans backwards, but to pray and press for conversion!
As Martyn Lloyd-Jones has said, you never preach for the 'pews', or as Albert Martin has warned against allowing your people to think they can persuade your preaching by their 'smiles' and 'frowns'.
So beware brethren when you speak or write for the crowd, for your followers, when you know you'll receive 'amens'. Especially when it's a LARGE gathering and you begin to comfort yourself by the opinions and support of the majority, but when one or a few begin to object you give their words no consideration whatsoever.
As has been said of worship, likewise with the message we declare we should speak FIRST for an 'audience of One'! You greatly deceive and withhold blessing from your supporters (followers, listeners) when you don't seek to actually deal with the sins, extremes, weaknesses of the crowd. We need some more 'you' preaching today and less 'they' rantings!


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