I've posted a number of photos of church signs with those incredibly vacuous, insipid, Gospel-less slogans -- ostensibly a way for that church to "reach" passers-by. Reach them with what is not quite clear....
A friend commented recently "wonder what goes on inside a church which puts that on the outside?" I told her the same type stuff was being proclaimed from the pulpit as from the sign. How could we think otherwise?.......surely no doctrinally sound pastor would allow such drivel as their public witness.
So, this is the "connection" I refer to. There is a dismaying amount of drivel falling from the lips of preachers, even some from whom we might expect better. Just recently, I've been exposed to a flood of sloganeering by supposedly sound preachers. These guys are masters of the quip and the quote. They can wow you with blurbs from all the Big Names.....MacArthur, Tozer, Spurgeon, Piper, et al.
This is a variant of the "spring board sermon" where the preacher starts with his idea, his theme, his point.......then he searches the Bible to find a verse (note: a verse) which he feels supports this idea. Building his structure upon one verse, he springs into action, lambasting the hearers with his own pet ideas whilst claiming Biblical support from the out of context verse.
Now we can get instead of a verse, a one-liner from Spurgeon or one of the other icons. From then on, the preacher goes where his own imagination takes him, having justified his thoughts by appealing to one of the Masters.
Another variant is the "borrowed sermon" These guys read Piper, MacArthur, Spurgeon (less so) and next thing you know, they have a sermon! Nice little 3-pointer, sometimes complete will illustrations. This, of course, has been going on for centuries. Some of the most popular books I sell are collections of sermons by Clovis Chappell, Clarence Macartney, and F W. Boreham. Those sermons have been preached and re-preached for nearly 100 years.
The question is: Why do they do this?
The answer is: They don't have nothin' else.
Some birds (pigeons and doves, maybe some others) feed their babies by going out, finding a nice meal and eating it.....back in the nest, they regurgitate that meal in a form palatable to the babies. This is called "pigeon milk"
Lots of congregations of hungry Christians are being fed on regurgitated theology. Those preachers read a clever bit on Piper's website or a MacArthur book, or had a good time on Phil Johnson's Spurgeon site.....and they carry this bit into the pulpit with them Sunday morning and spit it out for the starving sheep.
Baby pigeons thrive on that stuff. Baby Christians will starve.
Much as I like all the Greats I have mentioned here, their writings are inadequate food. Where have we read that:
Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word which comes from the mouth of Spurgeon (Piper, etc)? No, that's not it. These guys who are imitating some other preacher, "borrowing" his sermons, quoting him endlessly, in fact, worshiping some man.....are on dangerous ground. They are in danger and their congregations are starving.
I have lots of books; I have lots of commentaries (though I will say I don't use them much these days except for a word study perhaps)...but what I need is a Word from God, not from Spurgeon. Some preachers think a dream come true would be them locked away in a luxury hotel room, with tons of food, hundreds of books to read and "study" and at the end of that stay, they'd be a more powerful preacher. I'm going to tell you that the ideal would be locked up in a bare room with some water and saltines, a pencil and paper, and the Word of God.....after a couple weeks, a changed man would emerge.
All this man-made stuff lacks nutrition. Preachers need a Word from God. They will not get it from reading second-hand stuff, even if it's written by Godly men. Cut out the middle man! Go to the Source! Lock up all those commentaries and sermons books and get into the Word! Your congregation is hungry, some of them are starving,
Feed my sheep!