How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! ~Psalm 119:103
I love God's word. I love to read it, I love to study it, I love to hear it expounded from the pulpit. Nothing makes me rattier faster than poor preaching. The music may be absymal. The songs choices may be music I personally don't like. The order for service may be anything at all & I truly don't care but poor preaching makes me wild.
So when we were looking, the girls & I, for somewhere the girls would feel at home worshipping [which sadly is not Quakerish] we had a list of critea; you know the sort of thing: strong mission outreach; strong youth ministry, solid biblical preaching. I was prepared to put up with lots of other things so long as the teaching was solid. So were my girls. So too is Dino. If my kids learnt nothing else growing up in this house they heard the word of God talked about, discussed & dissected & they have antennea overtly sensitive to the least suggestion of heresy.
So we found a church we were content enough with. They met the 3 things that were an absolute must with us ~ especially if we attended the evening youth service which is vibrant & has a brilliant & dynamic youth pastor with a genuine preaching gift. I happily left Liddy to round up the troops who wished to attend so it's been a while since I've been to worship on the mainland.
Sadly Dino has no lisence but he wished to go to church after his cricket game so I became the designated driver. I was rather excited. Our fellowship is so small the thought of worshipping with a larger corporate body & getting some solid preaching in that I hadn't had to research myself was rather exciting. I have come away with a sour taste in my mouth. I really, really hate for preachers to drag out a horde of unrelated scriptures to support a hypothesis. I loathe preachers leap~frogging all over the bible like a maniac. It's not a careful & studious analysis. Worse, I caught 2 errors. Not big errors, nothing major but just the same, wrong. Scriptually wrong.
Now in the context of what this man was preaching on I get his point. The rewards intended for heaven are not dispensed in this life but to say God doesn't reward us in this life is just plain wrong. Anyone with even a passing nodding aquaintance with the Quiverful movement knows Children are a heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.[Psalm 127:3] Picky, I know, but I heard the error of his words rather than his intended meaning. One was just carelessness, two...? The second one was a quoted passage from Revelation 3. And what's in Revelation 3? Christ's stinging rebuke to the Laocidean church! The poor man couldn't possibly have known that I have just finished an in depth study on the Laocidean church & to hear a passage pulled out randomly & out of context completely nearly had me on my feet objecting. Now wouldn't that have been something to behold! You will be pleased to know I restrained myself.
This happens to me a lot. [No wonder, you are probably thinking, this mad woman is a Quaker; saves on a lot of angst!] See for years & years the island had no pastor ~ just a series of mainland pastors who came over once a month to preach, had morning tea with the yokels & departed promptly for the mainland on the first available boat. I'm not being snarky. I live over here & I know getting the boat you need is a priority or it throws your whole schedule out. I don't do well on meagre handouts so I compensated. Every morning, early, before the rest of my household was up, I was out in the car twiddling the car radio to pick up Greg Laurie. Now the car had to be parked in just the right spot at just the right angle or all I'd get was a whole lot of static so I got very good at picking where to park my cars.
Then Dearest broke his back & sitting in the usual church fare as regards seating was completely out so we invested in a stereo system & lo & behold! There are zillions of preachers out there preaching on any given day of the week & we devoured what I consider to be the best of them: Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur [expository preacher & very good though I have issues with certain of his tenents. His teaching on the prodigal son is the best I've ever heard], Derek Prince ~ & whoever else we could find who taught solidly & in depth. They have blessed us enormously. For ten years we were blessed to sit under the excellent teaching of 2 very different men; one a Presbyterian, the other a Methodist [from the days when there were still Methodists.]
I use the old RSV version of the bible ~ not because I think there is anything inherently superior to the KJV or affiliates but because I have the sort of mind that holds the poetic cadences of the older versions better & because it gives me a secret wicked delight to quote the scriptures my children think they know in the older poetic cadence & watch them as they realise I have actually quoted a scripture they know very well indeed.
Now this wasn't the youth pastor & it was certainly not his fault that I knew even the story he used as illustration ~ I seriously read widely ~ so his punch line was lost on me. And I have preached so I know it is impossible to please all the people all the time but I flip when I spot errors. I flip because I seriously don't think I am that well educated biblically so if I'm spotting errors what has slipped past me I've missed?! I flip because I've read Hosea. Have you read Hosea? "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge...The more the priests increased, the more they sinned against Me; they exchanged their glory for something disgraceful." [Hosea 4:6~7] Let's just say God wasn't happy about how the priests were leading ~ or failing to lead ~ His people. It is a very serious thing to expound the word of God. It is a very serious thing to lead God's people into error. Priests, Ministers, Pastors, whatever you want to call them are in a very serious position. They are responsible before God for His people! I've seen poor teaching weaken a church people until they are destroyed ~ as scripture warns.
I know my children are happy with this church & it produces much good fruit. I know there is no such thing as the perfect church. If there was ever any such thing my attending it would end its perfection! However it is a warning to be vigilant. To know the scriptures ourselves. To study God's word & know it so we are not led astray by errors. God help His church in the Last Days!