An Echo of Ideas
Monday, February 8, 2010


“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, they will gather around them teachers who teach them what their itching ears want to hear.”  (2 Tim 4:2-3)

                I heard the Scottish preacher, Alistar Begg say recently that this is how you [speaking to his congregation] will know I don’t love you anymore.  He said, “You will know, when I no longer preach God’s Word.”  If that is the test of a pastor’s love, then congregations around this land must be feeling pretty unloved in recent years.

                A few years ago, an associate pastor who served with me, read a book he really liked.  Although I was unaware of it, he was anxious to preach what he learned from the book, written for the third grade mind-set and attention span of most modern Christians.  I had read the book, so the moment he started preaching, I knew what he was doing.  He was preaching, not from the Word of God, but from the ideas of a man.  He was not digging deep to see what God had to say to him in Scriptures, he was merely echoing the ideas of another.  That was his last time under my ministry to do that.

                Sadly, most people hear today on Sunday mornings an echo of ideas.  Instead of doing the hard work of expository preaching, modern pastors find it far easier to let Rick Warren, Max Lucado, John Ortberg, or Bill Hybels do the thinking for them and merely use the pulpit to echo what they read.  Gone is the art of looking deep into the Word of God, struggling for 10 or more days with the Holy Spirit, to discern what God is trying to pass on to the congregation.  Inspiration is three times removed from God’s Word and it is watered down, irrelevant, and plagiaristic.  Yet because most congregations are ill read of both Christian writings and Scripture, these pastors get by with it week after week.  They are showing both a disdain for their people and a lack of love for God’s Word.  They are merely “teaching [their congregations] what their itching ears want to hear.”

                Another issue which arises out of the “echo of ideas” is that the pastors who use this technique are generally lacking in interpretation skills enough to judge the accuracy of the ideas they are echoing.  The authors write well, so whatever they write sounds good, and because every pastor wants to sound good, they grasp these well written thoughts, make them their own, and begin to proclaim.  So often, this is a substitute for allowing the congregation to hear from God’s Living Word, fresh and new.  So biblical error begins to run rampant.  And a cursory look at churches today, we see a collection of beliefs about almost every doctrine that Scripture writers held dear that are divided only by the opinion of others and congregations no longer know biblical truth.

                Does your Pastor love you?  A good way to tell is that he loves you enough to struggle with God’s Word, day in and day out, until God speaks what His congregations should hear.  And if he practices an echo of ideas, love him and your fellow pew mates, to force him to return to God’s Word for preaching and teaching.

                Just as a footnote, the term, “echo of ideas” is just that.  I borrowed it from one of the greatest expository preachers of all time – Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  So I stand guilty of echoing his phrase, but prayerfully, never of echoing his teachings except to the degree that God’s Word told Him what the Holy Spirit told me.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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