Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 12 No. 9 September 2010
Page 13

Do You Understand What You Hear?

Ernest S. Underwood

Philip asked the Eunuch if he understood what he read. It might be well to ask, “Do you understand what you hear?”

On any given Sunday one can turn to any radio or television station which deals mainly with religious material, and can hear some rather outlandish and downright silly stuff that some folks call preaching. Nearly all of the speakers claim to be directly led by the Holy Spirit, yet are teaching different doctrines, as though the Holy Spirit contradicts Himself. I have noticed that on television when the Holy Spirit apparently fails to direct the speaker to the spot on his notes, the fellow just sort of fills in with a bunch of “Amen’s” (always put in a question form), a “praise God” or two, and quite frequently a “Hallelujah” comes forth while the speaker is waiting for another “leading.”

Now a question: If you listen to or view this stuff, do you ever do as did the Bereans, and “search the Scriptures” to see if what you are hearing is truly the Word of God, or if it is just someone trying to make merchandise of you? Maybe you should. It would be a great eye-opener to you if you did. There are a lot of blind guides out there leading a lot of folks into the ditch of destruction.

Ministerial Ethics

Mark Posey

Moral failures among ministers are tragic and devastating. Chaucer asked, “If gold rust, what shall poor iron do?” Obviously, it too rusts, perhaps more rapidly. However, not all ministers are anywhere close to moral failure. Most preachers and staff serve all their lives and never do anything questionable related to moral misconduct. The number of ministers who commit adultery is much, much lower than that of the average male population. Today, however, we are made aware of the sexual sins of ministers more so than in past years. For example, the failure of a well-known evangelist was on the first page of the Birmingham News, on the “Rick and Bubba Show” and even on Paul Fienbaum’s sports talk radio show.

Sexual misconduct, pulpit exaggeration, misuse of power, manipulation of people, pornography, misuse or embezzlement of church funds, deception, dishonesty, pride and arrogance are just a few of the subtle temptations facing the minister. What is wrong? Why are some preachers failing morally?

Trull & Carter (Ministerial Ethics) identify ignorance as the primary area of failure. They conclude that ethical failure is due to the (1) lack of literature on the subject, (2) high-profile position of ministers and (3) the lack of training on the subject in college. This has led to a lack of accountability and of clear professional guidelines among individual ministers. Every Christian, even ministers, need training in ethics and spiritual formation. A ministerial code of ethics, if used properly, can be profitable. Is there biblical application to the difficulty? Yes!

King David experienced a time of moral and ethical failure as recorded in 2 Samuel 11. What David needed when he messed up his life will benefit ministers that fail morally and ethically! Consider:

David needed someone to be totally honest with him. Nathan was that man (2 Samuel 12:1-7). David did not need someone to soothe his conscience. Nathan was honest about David’s sins, lovingly honest, but totally honest.

David needed a heart that could be broken (2 Samuel 12:13). David responded to Nathan’s story with a broken, contrite heart. Our hearts must be sensitive to the truths of God’s Word (Psalm 51:17).

David needed the assurance of forgiveness (2 Samuel 12:13b; cf. Psalms 51:11; 32:1-5). When we sin, there is nothing we need more than the assurance that God can and will forgive us if we return to Him (1 John 1:9).

David needed continued strength to carry on (2 Samuel 12:25). Nathan returned at least two times to give David continued help (cf. Hebrews 13:5).

May God help us to be good and faithful ministers in a not-so-good world!

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