July 1, 1987 Issue
Barney Owens

The Associated Press released an article recently which made appearance in our local paper with the above caption. Although the author was not named, it proved interesting reading. The article will not be reproduced presently, however I shall give the idea it contained enabling you to understand why some things will be said in the remaining portions of this piece and the one to follow.

A group of ministers are increasingly concerned due to some lawsuits being leveled against members of their corps, because of practices contrary to the purpose of their ministry. One of the examples given pointed to a minister being summoned to court with the charge of harassing a women sexually while counseling her. The sum requested of the court was a substantial amount. Anyhow, a group has now been formed to fight back, or at least to hold ground against such attempts made upon them. Now, let me make some observations about this, then in the following article some applications.



Counseling has its place, I certainly will not deny that, but I do deny that this is the great work of a gospel preacher. Gods power to save men is the gospel (Rom 1:16), which He has chosen to be preached to all the world (Mk 16:15, I Cor 1:21). Society will always have problems that must be dealt with (or at least history proves that it has always had them, John 12:8), and the small mite preachers do in trying to reclaim the world for society will have little effect. It will accomplish, however, the Devils will by getting the Lords servants concerned with things of less importance than saving souls. In the pulpit (from one who has listened carefully for what now borders three decades) there is as much if not more, lectures on the trivial than the truth of God. Therefore, I cannot help but wonder what personal (one to one) preaching has turned into under many circumstances. As Christian people let us demand of those who preach something of substance--the truth (John 17:1 7). A man IS NOT A GOSPEL PREACHER WHO PREACHES ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING BUT THE GOSPEL OR PREACHES JUST ENOUGH OF IT TO BE ABLE TO CLAIM HE DOES SOME GOSPEL PREACHING WITHIN HIS REMARKS. These are strong words, but allow the chips to fall where they may, as I am convinced that this admonition is no longer needed outside the Body of Christ only, but we who preach among churches of Christ should be concerned.


Among the Lords people, I am persuaded there are men who are as dedicated and sincere as any could possibly be. Yet, the fact is brethren, we cannot stick our heads in the sand. It is being said more than enough, "preachers are human." Preachers, because of the work itself are leaders of people, and therefore should be examples more than others. When one is aware of "counseling sessions going toward the cesspool, when we hear of brethren being caught in adultery, when young ladies are known to be led into sin, when churches are left in turmoil, when the Cause of Christ is blighted, etc. etc." it is time for us to look at the situation with an eye of seriousness. When we teach others, my brethren, will we escape the judgment of God (Rom 2:21-21)? Shall we think that we can offend in one point and be saved by obeying the remainder of the law (James 2:10-11)? Where has the idea gone that preachers are to be esteemed for their work and position? Have we forgotten "when we sin we lead others to transgress" (Rom 2:24)? May Heaven help us as fathers and mothers to recognize the need for Gospel Preachers and begin early to channel our sons in that direction with the under standing that they must walk more carefully than other men.


Wouldn't it be wonderful if the preachers of this world were as concerned about the will of God, the souls of men, and their own spiritual well-being, as they are their physical and material hides? My point is this: will not God level against such preachers as spoken about in the article I mentioned early on the charge of "MALPRACTICE" when they stand before the judgment seat on the last day?


Webster gives of malpractice this information: "Evil practice; illegal or immoral conduct; practice contrary to established rules." Let me make application as this definition applies to preaching. The established rule is the Word of God which does not change with the times, seasons, or geography. (Mt 28:19, John 8:31-32). So, any practice or teaching which leads others to practice things illegal (against the truth of God James 1:21) or immorally harmful to the soul (against the word of God Micah 6:8), is evil in practice, therefore is MALPRACTICE. On the opposite side of the coin, he who is not what he should be, or leads into sin is certainly not MINISTERING to their needs, or to his own good.

In the next installment some specific examples of ministering malpractices will be brought to your attention.


Other Related OPA Article Links:

Malpractice Concerns Ministers Part II - 8/1/87
Gospel Preaching

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