Monday, June 3, 2019

What makes a preacher?

After a busy fortnight I was glad that yesterday I could go to worship on Sunday without the care of preaching. What makes a preacher? In recent months and years I rarely come across a preacher who is anointed and powerful to move hearts and minds. John Sung, the Chinese evangelist who converted tens of thousands once said, "Unless you are filled with the Holy Spirit you should not preach!" Why so few are filled with the Holy Spirit these days?
Preachers could be theologically educated and hold higher degrees but they are not anointed. Preachers may preach a most reasonable sermon with a sound exegetical basis but they are not anointed. Preachers may possess the gift of the gap, speak well and eloquent but they are not anointed. Paul the apostle contrasted his type of preaching with human rhetoric that prized wisdom and he said, "that my preaching is not of human wisdom but in the demonstration of the Spirit and power" Where the Spirit is present there is power because effective preaching only comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Isaianic prophet says, "the Lord God and His Spirit sent me". The prophet is convinced he is sent by God. He is on a mission and his mission is to deliver God's message, not his own but from the mouth of the Lord. Hence, Jeremiah disputed with the prophets of his day who declared messages out of their hearts and not from the council of God. They ran but God did not send them. So when one stands up in the pulpit, one must ask one pertinent question. Why am I standing here to preach? Who or what is my authority? A preacher is one who is called to preach. He is sent from God and not by or through men. The preacher's authority is divine and not human because he delivers God's words and not human wisdom or philosophy. But God's Word is only given to those whom God has called and not to anyone or everyone. So a powerless preacher often comes down to this - he is not called by God. He does not exercise God's authority. He has no inner conviction that he is sent by God. He may have titles and positions. He may be highly qualified and the senior pastor or the supreme church leader. But his authority is human, his mandate comes from human authorities and not divine commission. Often because it is all too human, this kind of preacher preaches to please men. He preaches to the tune of human authority that appoints him. Sometimes human authorities especially church authorities think that they are divinely mandated. Like King David a chosen king, elsewhere called a prophet and wears an ephod like a priest but king David himself is subject to divine authority though in him the Lord's kingdom over Israel is manifested. King David is subject to divine authority and he listened to the prophets Nathan and Gad. Thus no human authority however exalted is above the overuling power of God's Word delivered by those called and sent by God.

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