As I was reading my daily litany of blogs today, I came across a website called the “Christian Research Network” (here after abbreviated CRN) and must say that after spending about 10 minutes on their site, I was totally depressed. On their site, they boldly proclaim on their banner, “Jesus said: ‘If ye continue in My Word, then are ye are My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.'” I agree with their statement 100%. My problem with what I read today is that it seems that they spend a whole lot of time tearing down Pastors. You might not know any of the names that I am about to mention, but I will include links so that you can check them out for yourselves.
I did a search of the following people on the CRN website: Perry Noble, Steven Furtick, David Wilkerson, Craig Groeschel and Mark Driscoll. Each one of these individuals had some form of criticism leveled against them for their preaching, their style, their theology, etc. Now, I realize that each one of us are different and our styles vary from one pastor to another. But each one of the above pastors I mentioned have seen many conversions to Christ because of their ministries. Take Perry Noble and Steven Furtick for instance. On Easter Sunday 2009, between the two pastors, over 1000 people made a decision for Christ at their services. Are all of those people still attending church, trying to live the life, and daily submitting to Christ today, almost 2 ½ months later. Who knows, but I’m sure that a lot of them are.
But the biggest thought that ran through my mind was what kind of review would the CRN give Jesus if He was on the earth today, in the flesh, reaching people for God? I wonder if they might not be equated with the Pharisees of Jesus’ day because Jesus wasn’t doing it the way they think it should be done.
Sure, the church that Perry Noble pastors played AC/DC’s song “Highway to Hell” on Easter Sunday. I am very familiar with that song because it was one of my favorite songs when I was in High School. At that point in my life, that song summed up my attitudes, my thoughts, and my outlook pretty succinctly. But, the message that followed the song was a salvation message that saw over 350 people come to Christ.
What I tried to do after I watched this sermon, was put myself in the place of someone around my age who wasn’t saved, but who attended that Easter Sunday service. I can imagine myself coming into an environment that was foreign to me, an environment that was actually hostile to my way of life. I see myself sitting down in the seat, listening to all these people around me speaking words, a whole other language, that made no sense to me. The lights go down and the music starts. “Wow,” I say to myself, “I recognize that guitar riff!” All the sudden, feelings and memories of a point in my life long past start flooding though my mind. I am transported back to a younger, wilder time in my life. A time when I really felt like nothing mattered, a time when I was indestructible, a time when hell didn’t look so bad.
As the song ends, I take a look at life with a few years of experience and realize that as I have gotten older, my mortality is a bit more real to me. Then, this goofy looking guy with thick glasses walks up on stage and actually starts talking in a way that I can relate to. He doesn’t use big words that I can’t understand. He pretty much tells a story that I can relate to. By the time he is done talking, my heart feels like it is about to jump out of my chest. I’ve never felt this way before. I feel like I’m about to explode! When he gives the invitation to know about this Jesus he has been talking about, I know that it’s something I need.
Ok, back to reality. I read in the Gospels where Jesus wandered around the country side, talking about the flowers in the field, the time he turned water into wine, how he ate dinner with sinners and a whole host of other things that didn’t sit well with the religious people of his day. Can you imagine? Jesus actually reached out and touched a leaper; He put his hand on a coffin and raised a mothers boy from death to life! The Pharisees of His day gave him “rave” reviews for all of these things. The reviews were so good that they conspired to put Jesus to death.
Yes, I am being very sarcastic here. But I get pretty angry when a group of modern day religious leaders spend a whole lot of time attacking people who are seeing people saved. No preacher is perfect. No preacher will ever preach every message to our satisfaction. No preacher will ever do or say something that isn’t wrong at least once or twice in their lifetime. Where do people get off putting down pastors who are seeing the spiritually dead brought to life?
Which brings me back to the title of this talk. If Jesus were a preacher today, what kind of review would you give him?