December 16, 2017

Good Preaching vs. God-Honoring Preaching

Jerry Sivnksty

As I travel across the country as an evangelist, I have noticed a disturbing trend that grieves my heart. It has to do with churches that use contemporary Christian music: they’ve gotten rid of the hymnals and instead flash their music on large screens to the background of worldly beats. Then the minister gets up and preaches in such a way that the people are enthralled with his speaking abilities. Church attendance rapidly increases to the point that they must have two or three services to accommodate the crowds.

Those who have observed these services have noticed three main things. First, the dress is very casual. Second, the music has Christian words with worldly beats. Third, the preaching is good. In fact, people have said to me, “The music is terrible, the casual dress is disturbing, but the preaching is really good—it’s staggering to see the crowds!” How do we deal with this matter from a Biblical standpoint?

My answer is that these churches may have good preaching, but it is not God-honoring preaching! The Word of God says in 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” This shallow contemporary Christian music that imitates the world’s style, feeds the emotions, and lacks doctrinal truth is not of the Lord—and don’t tell me that this is just my taste! The music of the world and the message of God stand in direct opposition of each other. But many churches have decided to incorporate the world’s music with Christian words for the explicit purpose of reaching the unsaved for Christ. This has caught on like wildfire, and many churches are embracing this means of outreach. Their mindset is to get rid of anything that seems “churchy” and create the atmosphere of a coliseum; their services are big gatherings with a lot of lively music coupled with good preaching. Let’s take a closer look at the kind of preaching these churches exhibit.

The main characteristic of “good” preaching is that it is inoffensive. There’s a large church in the Midwest whose sole purpose is to draw huge crowds; therefore, they don’t preach about sin or anything negative. Are these preachers capable men? Yes, they are! Many of them have great intelligence and charisma; they are polished speakers who know how to sway the crowds and keep them spellbound by their preaching. They are “good” preachers, but they are not God-honoring preachers.

Someone reading this article may be saying, “How can you be so judgmental?” The answer is “Because the Bible says so!” Second Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” You cannot preach the Word of God without these four elements—reproof, rebuke, exhortation, and sound doctrine. Shallow preaching will never reprove or rebuke anyone! It will always be neutral so as not to create a disturbance. This has never been true of God-honoring preaching.

John Wesley preached against sin with such fervency that a man hit him in the side of his face with a brick. When King David sinned with Bathsheba, it was the prophet Nathan who confronted him with his sin and said in 2 Samuel 12:7, “Thou art the man.” When King Saul disobeyed God’s command, Samuel rebuked him: “Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Sam. 15:23).

No matter how gifted a man may be, he who tickles the ears of his hearers is not a God-honoring preacher. Second Timothy 4:3 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” “Good” preachers will preach things that are warm and cozy and that won’t disturb the heart’s comfort zone. God will never accept pragmatic preaching that seeks “any means” to reach people. These preachers’ philosophy is, “Whatever it takes! If it works, I’ll use it. If a rock band will draw the crowds, I’ll use it.” Dr. Bob Sr. used to say, “It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.” May the Lord challenge ministers to not be “good” preachers but rather to be God-honoring preachers.

Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty may be contacted at P.O. Box 141, Starr, SC 29684 or via e-mail at

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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