January 21, 2016

The Word of God

Over the last year and a half I’ve listen to sermons from many different local pastors and I understand their need to make the biblical message relative to today by using stories, anecdotes and illustrations. However, as I critique the messages there is such a potpourri of ideas that I wonder if the audience gives any thought to distinguishing between the word of man and the word of God. Paul commended the Thessalonians, “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thess 2:13 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----While a senior in High School, I considered carefully whether or not my place in the Lord was behind a pulpit. I am glad I opted for “not”. There are many aspects of a preacher I just don’t fit. Worse yet, when behind the pulpit, their every word is being critically measured and weighed by almost as many people as whom they must inspire and encourage. I know this for truth, because I measure and weigh, too.
-----About twenty years ago a really old bone box turned up in the Hebrew antiquities market. Off hand, I forget the name of the fellow who purchased and cared for it, but when he brought it into the public light, it made quite a stir. On its side was inscribed in very accurate first century Hebrew: James, brother of Jesus, son of Joseph. Good for scoffers that fraudulent antiquities are found and cast out. Such direct relation to distinguished names as these raises the outcry of the scoffing world almost instantly. But here, scoffers had an insurmountable problem, which after many years of examination and scrutiny, finally convinced the counsels to pronounce this ossuary genuine: patina.
-----Patina is cool. It forms over the centuries on anything fortunate enough to last centuries. On this ossuary, patina was not only found overlaying the general surface, it was found inside the grooves forming the inscription. Patina is impossible to fake in the presence of a good microscope. The debate should never have really lasted as long as it did.
-----There is no debate about the antiquity of the church. Peter, Paul, and even Jesus are known to be undeniably real people who lived in the time and place the Bible speaks of them. So the patina formed on the church doesn’t even have a verifying usefulness. It just covers what the church was meant to be, greatly altering what it should look like. The Word of God is not long and lengthy on what that look should be. But it does give some key points, one of which, at I Corinthians 14:26-33, gives a very different look than today’s paid preacher perpetually behind the pulpit with a music ministry team leading “worship programs”. “What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.” (vs. 26) Gee? Is Paul actually talking about participation amongst the gathering rather than just attendance? “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged.” (vss. 29-31) I guess there are just some things in the Word of God we must keep covered up by this very fortunate patina, else we would need to deal with, “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says…If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized.” (vss. 33b-38) I guess since patina is important to protect, taking the Word of God seriously gets some occasional winks. So, we should not be dismayed when experiencing “Word of God” droughts in sermons from that one prophet perpetually behind the pulpit, all the others having been silenced.
-----Today I rejoice at my decision in High School. I don’t have problems with the church and its patina, because none of it is in my control. So I can go to church and enjoy the patina, because none of it is of my making. Yet I can still say what the Word says, and not worry about getting booted out of a job. And who cares if I get booted out of a church whose patina no longer can handle the Word. There’s another church with a different patina just down the street.

Love you all,
Steve Corey