Vol.XV No.III Pg.2
May 1978

Be Kind To Preachers

Robert F. Turner

K. C. Moser, in "Gist of Romans," p. xix, says, "That the chief characteristics of the new covenant, as distinguished from the old covenant, is a new set of commandments given by another lawgiver, is an error that has scarcely been paralleled... To represent the conditions of salvation as arbitrary commands, and having no logical relation to Jesus as sin offering but given to test the sinner's willingness to obey God, is a colossal and a tragic error."

Some brethren, newly awakened to recognize that we are saved by grace, are making even more drastic charges against gospel preachers whose only real error is in choice of illustrations and words, learned, for the most part, from even less "theologically" tuned preachers. I believe any gospel preacher worth his salt knows that Jesus Christ is our Savior, by virtue of His death on the cross. All such know that baptism, etc., have meaning, only as they are related to that supreme sacrifice.

But "we" are not theologians. Despite "schools" that place more and more emphasis upon degrees and classic "theological" training, most of "our" preachers get "preacher training" from the slogging practice of "getting up an outline" in time for the next service. It is done with a concordance, sermon-outline books, or notes from sermons by others. Even "college trained" men usually have only liberal arts subjects, with limited "Bible study" courses. I believe a preacher needs more study in basic "themes" of redemption, church and theological history, and certainly a better grasp of the Bible as a whole, but I am not plugging for the kind of theology that a few "Doctors" have brought from modernistic "divinity" schools. I still believe "study the Bible until you are full, then let it run over on the hearer" is a very good way to preach the good news.

"Sets of commands," "brick wall faith," "ours not to reason why," are ways of preaching that evolved from pioneer circumstances. The audience was unread, brought up with protestant, nominal "faith" in Christ, but thinking "faith only" or some mystical "experience" would signal their salvation. Gospel preachers were not lecturing on theology; they were trying to reach these unlettered folk with the necessity for action. The gospel must be obeyed (2 Thess. 1:8), and the commands must be set forth in a clear, direct fashion — "steps" or counted on the fingers for emphasis. Their "error" will not be corrected by a spirit of superiority; but by humbly teaching us a better way.