Vol.VI No.IV Pg.3
June 1969

Selecting A Preacher

Robert F. Turner

Selecting a preacher is a revealing experience. He meets with brethren and discusses working with them. He is apt to get the third degree. Brethren want to know when he gets up in the morning, arid what color socks he wears. His skeletons are liable to be pulled from the closet and examined by all —bone by bone. I am sure that some of this is just meddling in other peoples business, but it is not all bad. At least it shows the brethren want a man of integrity. In the past, brethren have selected men on the basis of his try-out sermon and looked no further. A church needs not only a good speaker but a good man. The truth and the kingdom has suffered reproach because good speakers turned out to be rascals in honesty and morals. All disciples conduct should be such that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Tit. 2:5)

Brethren feel him out on certain things. What do you preach — or think — about social drinking? You see, we have some prominent brethren who are heavy contributors and they see no harm in an occasional cocktail. How will the prospective preacher answer? Another brother queries, Just before our last preacher decided to move — for his wifes health — he objected to one of our deacons daughter being in the bathing beauty contest. What do you think about that? An ignoramus could not miss that implication! We are promoting the Cows for Korea project. Do you think that is all — right? etc. etc. Quickly you find out if he is a hireling or Gods man. A man of God expects to preach the same truth regardless of conditions — in season, out of season. (2 Tim. 4:) How a man responds to the bait of a big salary in exchange for a compromised message is surely revealing.

Most of all, preacher selection reveals the character and conviction of the church. You can know about the people by observing the life and doctrine of the man they select. lf a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people. (Micah 2:11)

A preacher noted for scoffing at the miracles of the Bible is selected; what does it say of the people? When the preacher dances with the young folks and drinks with the older folk, what does it say about the ones who choose him? The preacher is known to excuse adultery; what does it say of the people who support him?

People choose a preacher who is versed in philosophy, jokes, and poetry. He never reads from The Book except for a text to use as launching pad for some scheme or philosophy. Every sermon such a man preaches is a commentary on the church that supports him. The people want it that way or it would be changed. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jer. 5: 31) The end thereof? They will wax worse and worse. Doubtless, neither Jeremiah nor Paul could have preached there. On the other hand, a dedicated and faithful preacher is like an ornament of fine gold to the ones who choose him. Joe Fitch