30 October 2023 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
I’m so tired of preachers expecting us to believe them because they’re “experts” without citing their sources.
Signed, Doubtful listener
Remember the old evangelistic brochures that would valorize the evangelist as an astronomer, archaeologist, historian, scientist, world traveler, anthropologist, health expert, linguist—almost anything except an honest man? There’s a certain kind of preacher who presents himself an amazing polymath, when in fact he’s a pretty ordinary guy who took a few classes and went on some trips.
Aunty is fortunate to know many humble and wise preachers who present clear and accurate sermons, backed by careful study and accurate interpretations of scripture and world events—and, importantly, targeted at the real needs of their audience.
But there are others (among them are some of the most well-known speakers in the denomination) who feed the sheep propaganda. They rely on outdated history that has nothing behind it more substantial than Uriah Smith’s outdated Daniel and Revelation, yet offered to hearers as indisputable fact. They claim to be able to explain every world catastrophe. They inflame people’s fears by exaggerating unlikely dangers, and make people think there are enemies behind every bush. They preach salvation by denominational affiliation and obedience to church rules, not through Jesus Christ.
In short, they scratch their listeners’ “itching ears.” Aunty thinks that some, in their hearts, know better—but it is simply too tempting to exalt their own importance by claiming to know more than they actually do.
That’s not every preacher, though. Most pastors, Aunty believes, intend to tell the truth. Most want to bring God’s comfort and grace to people. But please remember: getting a 30-60 minute lecture ready every week is a lot of work, and your pastor won’t always get all of it right. If you approach a humble pastor with a kind spirit, he or she will listen, and go back and check their exegesis, facts, quotes, and illustrations.
Just don’t forget the kind spirit when you talk to them.
Aunt Sevvy has collected her answers into a book! You can get it from Amazon by clicking here.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Your real identity will never be revealed.