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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another little rant.

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!


Bonnie said...

If this pastor wasn't the youth pastor, who was he? Is he still learning how to preach? Not that it's an excuse, but mistakes do happen especially in the early days. If you don't mind--I have a question about the quiverfull remark. Does that mean, if you don't have a quiverfull, that God has not blessed you? Not sure. I struggle with this because of my own inability (as of yet) to maintain a pregnancy and give birth, but also because I know so many women who are not righteous but are still blessed with children (some they don't even want). I pray for healing all the time (have you heard of Nerida Walker? I'd be interested to know what you think of her ministry.), but it hasn't come yet. I wonder if it is something I am not doing or if God simply has other plans for my life.

Ganeida said...

Bonnie: Sadly this was the senior pastor! He is relatively new to this church & this is only the 2nd time I've heard him preach so I may have been unlucky. I know mistakes happen but it alarms me ~ especially if a congregation does not appear to pick up on it at all.

Now, for that quiverfull remark. I do not in any way believe that the lack of children is a lack of blessing. I do believe that God who knows & understands everything about us & knows to what He has called us blesses us according to what he knows ~ & which we often don't. You are called to ministery which is very demanding & have 2 littlies already. God may be waiting till they are a little older & less needy before He blesses you with more because He has other work for you to do just now. I don't know. Just a thought. Remember He causes the rain to fall on the unjust as well as the just, so just because other women have children is no slur on you or your walk. What does God Himself tell you? James says we have not because we ask not. I also know, without a shadow of doubt, that if you are a child of God's He loves you beyond measure. He watches over you protectively. He plans good things for you. I know He places His desires in our hearts so if He has given you the desire He will satisfy it.

I don't know Nerida Walker. Sorry. I will google when I have time.

Amanda said...

Interesting post Ganeida... I too think about the enormous responsibility preachers have when they expound and teach on the Word. I cringe so many times it's not funny. There needs to be more fear of the Lord when it comes to preaching. Handling His word correctly for ourselves is important enough, without feeding a corrupt word out to people on a silver platter. Yikes!

I firmly believe a preacher needs to get His message from on his face, in his prayer closet before he even thinks of sharing a message with a congregation. How many do that these days? Very few I sadly suspect.

Have you noticed how preaching has a trendy aspect to it these days? Not that I frequent churches that are modern, much these days, but there is a certain way they go about it... the humour is the same, the anecdotes are the same, the messages all sound the same... none ever seemed to make an impact on me at all. Forgotten as soon as I left the building.

I can't stand fabricated humour in preaching... where we are all expected to laugh on cue. And the dreaded analogy of being in the Army of God is like being on a football team. If I heard that one more time, I would have stood up and screamed.

LOL, there is my Monday Morning rant for ya! And it's all your fault! :-P haha.

Loved your points.

Bonnie said...

Thanks Ganeida. That is what I believe, but I get so caught up in the teaching that implies we don't receive healing because of unresolved sin or lack of faith. I know that healing and blessing comes in many forms, including God's plan for our life (which is often different from our idea of our plans). I continue to strive to be faithful and obedient--knowing that blessings I don't even understand yet will come. ;-)

Sorry to hear that was the senior pastor. Wow--that is frustrating! It happens so often. I have know so many pastors who are pastors because it seems to be a good job and not because it is a calling. Then again, sometimes pastors have off days or weeks and their preaching suffers. It's a shame that when preaching is so important most pastors only get to spend about 40% of thier time preparing to preach. The rest is administration and pastoral care. All of it is important, but...I know Andy would much prefer to spend 100% of his time in the Word studying, thinking, and sharing.

I wonder if you would feel comfortable asking him some questios or seeking clarity on the points you mentioned. It might help.

Ganeida said...

Amanda: I dislike trendy wherever I find it. It is dangerous. I also worry about these preachers who simply *stand & deliver* without even notes! How can they? Too easy to get something wrong. When I think of the amount of research that goes into solid preaching ~ & solid preaching is teaching & application not merely rhetoric ~ I too cringe when I see pastors speak without notes ~ & often without even referencing their bible! Yikes! Bear in mind I live in a nook of the world where churches struggle to survive & one reason is the poor teaching. If you want strong Christians you have to build them spiritual muscle from the Word.

Ganeida said...

Bonnie: Thanks love. I actually understood what the preacher was saying perfectly. My problem was with how he said it. lol Someone will shoot me one day. I'm a lit major. I get very pernicky about how people use language. No one else had a problem ~ partly because what he was saying wasn't incorrect biblically taken in context of his main message. I just think he needs to be more careful about how he uses language because linguistically he came across as incorrect. Now I probably sound muddly but I do think we need to hold ALL of scripture in balance as we study select passages & verses. My problem was he screwed scripture as a whole by emphasising one section & forgeting whole other portions of scripture that say the exact opposite. It is incorrect to say God never rewards us in this life ~ which he said. Now his point was heavenly rewards & I would agree it would be pointless handing out temporal earthly rewards instead of eternal ones in Heaven but never? Not right. As I think I said. The Revelation quote just went to my head like strong wine. lol One verse from that whole passage & completely out of context! Dangerous game to play methinks.

joyfulmum said...

Good thoughts here Ganeida! I can understand your frustration, I am not that well educated in the Bible either but I know when scriptures are taken out of context in preaching! It irks me:)
One of the foundational teachings in my walk with God was to be like the Berean christians who went home and studied the scriptures to see if it was so, and I have tried to follow that example. I'm sure like you said I often miss incorrect teaching because I don't know all of the Bible that accurately, I'm still a student of His word:)
But I guess on the other side of the coin are the preachers who are also learning, though I know that was not the point of your post:)

Ganeida said...

Joyfulmum: Good for you! I think that is exactly what we are meant to do. So many Christians just want to be spoon fed & are spiritually lazy & that is not good news for the church body as a whole!

LobStar_89 said...

Senior Pastor = Gift of Pastarol Care
Associate Pastor = Gift of Preaching

My Opinion... Many more thoughts but I shall refrain... Just hope Dino is still keen to attend church even if it's not BBC! Did Sis go?

LobStar_89 said...

That may not make sense to every one else, sorry... what I ment to say is that the two pastors at BBC seem to be gifted like so... again sorry!!!

Ruby said...

Just thought I wuld share that we had three wonderful messages under the heading, "Jesus cleanses us" from John 13 over the weekend. I cannot say I always enjoy, but I certainly benefit from the solid expository preaching here! And I don't have to worry about song choices as the Psalms are always biblically correct!
Have a good week, Ganeida. We live in a time where sound doctrine is not endured....but God!

Ganeida said...

Liddy: I would agree with your assessment but you know what I'm like about preaching. ☺ I like to be taught ~ & I loathe like poison to find any error at all in any teaching. One of my quirks. Star was sick. Dino's still keen. Talking about attending next weekend's overnight camp at Sheldon. Guess who's driving?

Ruby: Yes, I like expository teaching too. Hard to be in error when you go line by line, verse by verse, chapter by chapeter. lol One reason I like MacArthur. I like to sing the psalms too ~ again hard to be in error with those. ☺

LobStar_89 said...

Yay, he will enjoy that! :) I wanted to go myself... Why don't you drive on down this way first ;) Love you!!!

Jo said...

Sadly you will find this in many churches and I wonder if it is what is being talk, if so it is scary. I think it is part of modernizing the church, which results in these errors of judgement.

Gerry Snape said...

Good man Derek Prince....Keep ranting!!

seekingmyLord said...

I will say that I agree with you about scripture hopping, pulling many verses this one here and that one there, all mostly out of context, to smash them together as if they are confirmation of each other. My pastor does it rarely, thankfully, but I always read beyond the few verses.