Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity

Speculative Preaching

Warren R. Cheatham

The kind that a host of preachers have turned to in the past decade. To speculate means "to think about or theorize on any subject; to reason from assumed premises," according to Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, It has been my good pleasure to have been privileged to hear good gospel preaching all of my life. I was not raised in the church but by godly parents who were Christians. During my tender years I can remember hearing gospel preachers, who feared neither man nor beast, thunder out the word of God to audiences who feared God only and saw many take their stand for truth, never hearing of such a thing as speculation. The churches of Christ in those days were, for the most part, sound and united.

As the years came flying by there began to be changes, the greatest of these to my memory was during and just after World War II. Man's thinking had been altered, largely by what he saw outside his own front yard. Christians who went overseas saw the great need for Christ over there as well as over here.

Seeing the need and not seeing many churches who had the ability to do the job by themselves, preachers began to speculate in their preaching. Some, who had never dreamed of speculation before, were beginning to suppose and assume many things. The word 'assume' has become very popular among the churches.

I can remember well several things that we did as members of the human race in speculation that were all right and are still. 'Spec' houses are common. A man builds a house 'assuming' that he can sell it. I can remember a time or two when we 'assumed' too much. They didn't sell or at least not for our 'Spec' price. However, in houses, horses, lands, autos, or any other real or material properties it is legally and morally right, but are we to 'assume' that because we may speculate on a house that we may assume something for Christ? Some seem to think so and their preaching immediately loses its power to save.

The kind of preaching that 'supposes' this or that to be alright, or assuming some work for an eldership, which they may not scripturally have, looks pretty flimsy by the side of 'book, chapter, and verse' preaching. Speculative preaching is preaching that supposes or assumes a premise, and no man has that right before God. A good many preachers need to stop and enquire, where did I learn it? In all of their preaching where no scripture can be found to back it up, they need to back it out.

Speculative preaching has been brought about largely by a few old 'Modernists preachers and teachers exerting pressure, on the right people at the right time, through our institutions of learning. The young are what they have been taught and these modernists are seeing to it that they are taught the new 'Spec-type' gospel. They look good, they sound good, except for a few modernists 'key' words here and there. They have been taught mental reservations, compromise, indifference, diplomacy and how to avoid and/or get out of an argument. Judging from the small number of discussions in the past decade they have been taught not to argue at all.

Even some of the so-called sound brethren now-a-days will cry aloud "I do not believe in arguing."

Men have speculated on the work and organization of the church and as a result the church is already in big business. An institution of every color stands alongside the body of Christ. Many of them have already excelled the church according to the overseers of them, and many brethren are trailing close behind in their pernicious ways. Discussions of the problems now are confined to our own camps. This is true of either side of the present problems facing the church.

We need a giant to defy the armies of the living God with his speculation and then we need a David who is not afraid to choose five smooth stones and with a steady hand and a careful aim place one right between the eyes of all speculative preaching. "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, - - - - even that prophet shall die." Deut. 18:20.

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