Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 10, 1968
NUMBER 23, PAGE 3b,5a

The Metamorphis Of The Messenger

Wayne Emmons

"For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts." (Malachi 2:7)

The proclaimer of the gospel like the priest of the old covenant should "keep knowledge." From his "mouth" the people should "seek the law," for he is indeed the "messenger of the Lord."

Strangely enough, however, the people do not want it so, and thus in the last two decades in the church we have witnessed such a permutation in preachers that the "finished" product is hardly recognizable as being of the same breed as his preaching predecessors.

In order to adjust to the demands of the people, preachers have been compelled to come down from the higher calling of proclaiming the word to the plains of Ono. (Nehemiah 6:2-3)

Consequently, today's preacher bears the likeness, distributed in equal parts, of a politician, cheerleader, a public relations executive, a diplomat, an efficiency expert, and a guru. It would appear at times that the significance of being a "messenger" pales in comparison.

Ask any preacher — forty-five years of older — what is the greatest change since he began preaching and ten times out of nine the answer will be along the lines of the changing nature of the work of the preacher — from teacher to promoter.

Want proof? How many "big" churches do you know of who have hired older men recently? Where are our preachers who by virtue of the snows of many winters have the knowledge and seasoning to bring the church that which it most needs? Largely they are preaching at smaller churches, on subsistence wages, or have gone into other fields of work to support their families. Of course, that gives them more time to sit around and read the writings of the younger preachers as they tell how it is their mission to lead the church out of the wilderness.

We are a peculiar people, aren't we?