What If Preachers Told the Whole Truth to Congregations Who Actually Wanted the Whole Truth?
Many Christians have been heard in lament, “Why am I now just hearing this (some biblical truth withheld from them)?” As I answer this question, let me preface my reply with my faith in God’s grace and providence in revealing the Scriptures to His children. After all, it is the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher (Jn 14:26).
By God’s design, His adopted children grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Lord (2 Pet 3:18). The child learns Christ and matures in knowledge, resulting in an increase in faith. The mature believer knows whom he has believed, and his exclusive boast is Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14).
Some men are called by the Spirit, set apart for the stewardship of the Gospel mysteries. These men have the Word of God burning in their bones (Jer 20:9). They are filled with the Spirit and knowledge, in order to proclaim the excellencies of Him who is exalted at the right hand of Majesty (Heb 1:3; 8:1; 1 Pet 2:9). These men set their heart to study the Law of God, as did Ezra (7:10). They are apt to teach (1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 2:24), and the content of their message is the teaching of the prophets, of Jesus, and of His apostles.
The whole counsel of God is the sixty-six books of the Holy Bible. In his studies, the man of God learns proper exegesis that leads to right interpretation of the Scriptures, as affirmed by the historical community of faith. He diligently forms his doctrines, which align with the historical creeds and confessions. He internalizes his system of theology and maybe even writes it down.
Honest preachers will confess that study has led to changes in doctrinal beliefs. Dishonest preachers will be indoctrinated in pre-existing systems of theology and tether themselves and their careers, including financial well-being, to the groupthink of a particular denomination or school of thought. To deviate from their school, even when their school is wrong, is simply career suicide for them.
Fascinating are the case examples of men of God who preach and pastor a group, who grow together in grace and knowledge with the man called and sent to them. They would never dream of hindering the ministry of prayer and the Word brought by the one with beautiful feet, whose steps are ordered by the King of glory. As the man of God grows, so does the gathered flock in that place.
Amazing are the stories of man-centered fellowships who repent and embrace the doctrines of grace, having learned these through the means of grace. The man of God declares, “Follow me as I follow Christ!” The passionate pursuit of the Prince of life is priceless.
Has the man of God in your midst been thrown to the lions or maybe to the curb on one or more occasions? Good! Those who have not suffered for the sake of the Gospel need not apply. The church needs warrior men who wield the Word. Jesus was despised and rejected by men, as were those who have received the mantle from faithful fathers and who bear witness of the Gospel of grace.
The challenge for called men of God is to preach the truth, the whole truth, so help us God. The challenge for the congregation is to pray for the man of God, chosen by the Lord and led by the Spirit, to come and expire himself in the midst of the flock.
The dilemma facing pastors and churches is what both groups will do with truth. If a pastor preaches the whole truth of Scripture, truthfully, will the congregation come for him with lanterns, torches, and weapons — to forcibly remove him? If a pastor, fearing for his career and financial well-being, opts to avoid the hard teachings, will the faithful remnant even remain in that congregation?
Apostate congregations love apostate preachers. True assemblies will love and sacrificially support men who risk it all to tell the people the truth. These are the men of God worth investing in, even as they invest their lives in the flock of God.
The church in America does not need CEO pastors, nor comedians, talk show hosts, psychologists, or circus masters. True churches, looking for true men of God, must fulfill the two search requirements noted here. The man you are looking for is first a diligent student of God’s Word. Second, he is an able preacher, who rightly divides the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).
May God raise up in this generation an army of men who fit this simple descriptive requirement. May these men reject the three-ring circus of endless activities demanded by worldly church consumers, by committing themselves to the biblical imperative…preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2).
May God employ true preachers to weed out the divisive and disruptive goats from true congregations who desire the Word of God preached to them. May the Word of truth ensure the spiritual growth and maturity of a multitude of congregations. May God be glorified in fearless men of God, who are sacrificially supported by whole congregations known for their love of the truth…and their truthteller.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 7, 2021