Preaching Through A Storm:Preacher,Shut Your Mouth!

H.Beecher Hicks,Jr.has written an excellent book that will surely be an encouragement for Pastors who are “going through a storm.”Preaching through a storm.Zondervan Publication.

In one chapter the author shares a sermon,How to silence a Preacher;or,Shut Your Mouth!Judges.18:3-4,19.Verse 19…Keep quiet,put your hand upon your mouth.RSV.

On pages 39 ,40 Hicks writes,If preaching is no longer what it used to be,if preaching can no longer be posited as a priority for the “faith once delivered to the saints,”if preaching is no longer popular,what has been designed to take the place of preaching?In an era when our culture has become chaotic,in an era when our morals have become comatose,in a day when our churches are weakened by a kind of spiritual anemia and our pews are filled with a new strain of hypnotized hypocrites,in a day whrn our politics have become perverted and our government seems to be living in a twilight zone of ethical anesthesia,I’d be interested to find out whatever happened to preaching?In a time whem our philosophers,our thinkers,our scientists,our ethicists are confounded and confused,tossed to and fro  on every fresh wind of doubt,I want to know what has become of God’s man?Where is he who is able to speak that word heard while listening in the midnight wathes with the Eternal?I just think we ought to ask who is responsible for negating and abdicating the divine-human dialogue called preaching?In a day when too many of our theological schools are producing pathetic products of quasi-intellectualism,Im curious to know who’s preparing to preach and who’s planning to be an advocate of the Almighty.

Page.41.I am under the impression that preaching was important.John the Baptis came preaching and teaching in the wilderness of Judea.Mark says that when the Christian movement began, “Jesus came..preaching.”(Mark.1:14).Peter preached with such power that three thousand souls joined the church at the same time.

When Peter joined up with John,their message was so powerful,that the prevailing political order provided a reservation gratis at the local city jail.

Paul established his theology of the doctrine of salvation on the principle of preaching.(Rom.10:15-15).

God thought preaching was important.Did not Paul say, “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”(1.Cor.1:21)?God thought preaching was so important,in fact,that even though He had only one Son,He made Him a preacher!

The author gives a warning to preachers on pages,43-44.

The preacher ought to be careful  when in search of a crowd for whom to preach.Sometimes I get nervous and uneasy around crowds.It’s diffiult to distinguish between where a crowd ends and where a mob begins.You do remember that it was out at Calvary that they had a crowd that crucified Jesus!

Having a crowd in your church means only that you have the potential for worship.Not every crowd that gathers up is the same as a “waiting congregation.”Not every group of folk that join on a corner on Sunday morning have come hungering and thirsting for the Word of God.Your concern ought to be not how many are present,but how many are praying!When I get up to declare God’s Holy Word I want a praying church.I’ve got enough pew-sitting,bench-warming,side line spectators.I want somebody out there who knows the worth of prayer and does not mind calling up heaven..

No matter how badly you want a church,before you go to your next assignment you had better be sure the Lord has called you and the Lord has sent you.Just as sure as you move to a church because it appears to be a greater opportunity,more people,more money,I can assure you it also has more mess and more hell-raisers than you can shake a stick at!

Anytime a pulpit committee swells your head talking about how big they used to be,anytime folk “call”you because of what they’ve got rather than because of the ministry they hope to share,anytime folk start talking about a big house and big cars and big money,you can be sure thats the same thing as saying, “Keep quiet,put your hand upon your mouth and come with us.”In other words,”Shut your mouth!”

Page 46.The reason the society at large wants to silence the preacher may well be because the preacher is under orders to speak a word about morality.The preacher is under orders to preach to the issues of institutional iniquity,governmental greed,personal perversion,and societal sin.Nobody wants to hear the preacher say, “Righteousness exalteth a nation:but sin is a reproach to any people.”Nobody wants to hear the preacher say, “The wages of sin is death;but the gift of God is eternal life.”The culture wants a preacher it can control.The culture does not want a preacher of power.It wants a preacher who will be victimized by his own vacillation,compromised by his own compromises;they want a willy-nilly,foot-pattin’ head-scratching’,chicken-eatin’ preacher whose ethics will always be in conflict with his appetite,just so they can tell him, “Preacher,shut your mouth!”

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