You may be disappointed with your pastor. There are any number of possible reasons for this. Some of them may lie at your doorstep; others at his. Some, at both. Here is one that you may not have considered. And it’s one that involves both you and the pastor as well. Let me read II Timothy 4:3—

A time is coming when they won’t put up with healthy teaching, but rather because they want their ears scratched, they will heap up teachers who are in keeping with their own desires.

Ha! That’s it! God punishes his people sometimes by giving them what they want.

If you want a preacher who whispers sweet nothings when he counsels you instead of zeroing in on your sin, you’ll probably call one like that. But when you get him, you’ll begin to complain about how he seems to be a glad-hander, and that families in the church are coming apart.

If you call a preacher because you liked his humorous illustrations and interesting stories, you probably will get one like that. But, again, it probably won’t be long before you get tired of that sort of thing rather than being fed healthy chunks of food from the Word. Thin, watered-down soup satisfies only so long. People don’t mature.

Of course, what’s even worse is if when you do call a superficial, back-slapping preacher rather than a faithful expositor of the Scriptures, you like these traits and are satisfied with what he gives you week by week.

Either way, Paul is warning about churches that, because they want the wrong thing in a preacher, are likely to get one who gives it to them.

What sort of preaching and counseling and ministry in general do you appreciate? Unless it is satisfying solid, healthy food from the Word—you and your church are in trouble. Preacher, are you willing to be that kind of teacher since so many are happy to call one who rarely challenges them with the truth? Shame on you. Double shame!

Double shame on the church as a whole for allowing such “preaching” to exist. Double shame on those who encourage it because, like some docile poodle, they like to have their ears scratched. If persecution comes to the American church—a likelihood in the not too distant future—it will be obvious which churches and pastors will stand up for the faith—and which will not. You cannot afford to settle for superficiality at either level.


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