Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A slip of the tongue!

I was listening to a sermon last year at a prominent charismatic church in the city where I live.

In the sermon the pastor said the following:

"After all, God took a chance on us! Isn't it true? Jesus died for you and me and expressed His love with NO guarantee of a positive response from us. He didn't know what we would do! And many, many people reject His love. [He] still loved them."

Because I respect the pastor in this case, I wrote a letter to him querying him on the statement, "
He didn't know what we would do!" In his reply to my letter, he said:

"Thank you for raising your concern with me. I am positive that it must have been a slip of the tongue – I would like to affirm that I definitely believe in God’s foreknowledge. I share your concern to uphold the truth and endeavour to do so at all times."
This got me thinking about the so-called "slip of the tongue."

Preachers should take utmost care not to say things that they do not mean. A "slip of the tongue" could have dire consequences!

Basically, a "slip of the tongue," such as this, can be caused by many things, I guess. However, I want to look at three possible causes:

1. Lack of Theological Depth
"S
lips" such as these most often happen to those who do not have the proper theological grounding or understanding. I agree that "slips" occur more frequently than we would like to admit. Yet, "slips" more frequently occur with subjects that we are not very proficient at.

Once we have mastered a subject, it becomes that much more difficult to experience lapses of thought regarding those subjects. On the other hand, these lapses may point to the fact that one hasn't reached a thorough understanding of the subject at hand.

Preachers should hardly ever experience such lapses, since they are supposed to be thoroughly grounded in the Word o
f God and they should have a strong understanding of theological constructs in the Bible! The problem with many charismatic preachers today is that they hardly ever have a solid theological foundation!

Quoting a couple of verses merely means that one has a good memory. Having a solid theological understanding of those verses; now that is what should be aimed at! Many of these preachamatics (charismatic preachers) are very good at quoting verses while preaching. Yet, very few of them actually have a Biblical understanding of the verses they quote.

I remember, way back in the mid-80s, when I was still into the Word-of-Faith heresy, I attended a conference at which Kenneth Copeland was speaking. One of the verses in his sermon was Amos 4:6, "'I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,' declares the LORD." Copeland used this verse to preach about how God would bless us if only we believed. We would be so blessed that we would even have clean teeth! Funny, this verse does not say that at all. In fact, God was chastising the Isrealites at the time by keeping food from them, and as a result their teeth were clean from not having anything to eat!

But, I digress!

One of the big problems among preachamatics, is that they are not interested in reading and studying theology. As a re
sult, they continue with their own brand of suspect theology.

Of course, a good place to start reading good theology, is with the prince of theologians himself, John Calvin. His Institutes of the Christian Religion is av
ailable free online. He has also written many commentaries which can also be found free online.

The problem with such a lack of theological depth, which cannot be denied, especially at this church where I heard this sermon, is that they sell the books and teaching videos/tapes of known heretics. They sell stuff by men such as T.D. Jakes (more on Jakes here) and Tommy Tenney who do not teach the Trinitarian God of the Bible! They further sell goods by many Word-of-Faith teachers such as Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyers, Fred Price, Charles Capps and Benny Hinn.

2. Topical Preaching
Preachamatic at large!Another problem that can lead to a "slip of the tongue" is this incessant need in the modern church for topical preaching. I am not saying that topical preaching is bad all the time. The problem I have with churches where they only hear topical preaching is that they hardly ever get the whole counsel of God. Most topical preachers jump from verse to verse and as a result never show their people how the Scriptures fit together!

Another issue with topical preaching is that preachers using this method of preaching almost invariably think that they know the topic at hand well enough to preach off the cuff! Can you see the problem? This is exactly w
here the "slip of the tongue" comes in!

The best solution for this is to start preaching
expository sermons (preaching through a book of the Bible). Not that expository preaching is the be-all and end-all! This can be messed up too! Yet, this method of preaching demands more from the preacher. More study and more concentration! The preacher will then have to do proper hermeneutics on the book he is preaching through in order to teach the passage in question accurately.

But, I guess, that will be too much work for our preachamatics!

3. Insufficient Sermon Notes
Finally, as has been suggested before, most of these preachamatics are topical sermon pr
eachers. Since, as has also been suggested under point 2, these preachers are mostly into topical sermons, they have this over-confident attitude that they know the topic at hand very well, and as a result they have very short, to no sermon notes that they preach from.

It makes me wonder how they can preach the whole counsel of God at all!


They claim to flow with the Spirit! If they claim to be flowing with the Spirit, why do they have these "slips of the tongue?" Or, perhaps the Spirit has given them new revelation that should be added to the Bible? But, this is not what they claim! At least not the new revelation part!
Pssst!
The problem with many of these preachamatics is that they do claim to be led by the Spirit and so they have become so arrogant, and they treat the content of the very Word of God so flippantly, that they do not bother with preaching the whole counsel of God at all.

They would rather claim to be led by the Spirit and preach all kinds of nonsense (a "slip of the tongue"), than honour God by preaching His Word and only His Word.

If they really honoured God in their preaching, they would do everything in their power to ensure that they preach only the Word of God. That would mean spending hours before God in prayer and sermon preparation, studying the Word of God to e
nsure that the passage at hand is interpreted correctly. However, I guess hermeneutics is a lost art among the preachamatics! Further, proper notes will be taken to the pulpit to ensure that such a "slip of the tongue" does not occur.

Whose books are you selling?In conclusion, many of these charismatic churches that claim to be led by the Spirit of God allow the merchandise of heretics (such as those mentioned under point 1) to be sold in their bookstores. Why is the Spirit not telling them to get rid of the wolves in sheep's clothing from their midst? Is it perhaps, as I maintain, that they are not so-called led by the Spirit as much as they claim to be?

On this topic, of divining the leading of the Lord, it may be good to go over to the PyroManiacs to read the post by Dan Phillips called "Misreading God." Perhaps the preachamatics will say that Dan Phillips is wrong, because the spirit told them so!


2 comments:

Cat said...

That was a really good post, thank you so much for writing it! It was so helpful :-)!!!

William said...

Glad to hear you found it helpful Cat!

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