Vol.XIII No.IX Pg.2
November 1976

Young Fools, Old Fools!

Robert F. Turner

At the risk of praising the fool let us admit that sometimes a loudmouthed egotist accomplishes things which have foiled the self-effacing, humble person. Maybe he overpowers the opposition with bluster, or enlists less bombastic folk in a sort of awe-struck service. The church may experience a preacher-centered growth that crumbles when he departs. But there are times when it seems the difference in genuine failure and success is a strutting, look out, here we come clown.

Training and inclinations tell us to discourage all such conduct — to class it as worldly pride which wars against the soul. But examples of quiet Milquetoast failures suggest other alternatives. Man is subject to classifications other than introvert and extrovert. We must not equate boldness with pride, nor the lack of faith and/or courage with humility. There was a place for Peter.

Many preachers will admit that in their brush -arbor days they baptized more people than they do today. We can say the local preacher baptizes them now, or people have lost interest in religion, or big meetings are a thing of the past — and there is some truth in all that. But preachers also change. I would be hypocritical if I tried to preach the simplistic and often crude sermons of my yesteryear. But it is possible to become cynical, and quit believing that people want to be better, and that we can give them what they need. The cock-sure, eyen heady attitude of our earlier preaching may have worked some chemistry that is left dormant today by more sophisticated and conventional preaching.

I recall a young man who took a brief course in door - to - door salesmanship — and sold magazines like crazy until he realized that his pitch was just that, and nothing more. When he awakened, he couldnt sell beans. He needed greater faith in his product, and less in his technique. But if age and experience are going to polish off a mans enthusiasm for his work, he is really finished as respects his use in Gods vineyard.

I am not ready to concede that the cocky young preachers know it all, or that their work is complete without that of more mature teaching. There are greater changes to be wrought than dry to wet. If desire to teach remains, and faith is as strong as ever, the more experienced man is more realistic in his appraisal of mens needs, and of what may be expected as results. But I want to encourage the younger preacher. Fight on! Believe in God and self, in that order. Amen!