I absolutely believe in the glorious, overwhelming success of the gospel, but I will not sell my soul or compromise my convictions for the sake of carnal “success.” I encourage you to stand strong in your resolve as well. It’s better to be scorned by this world than to lose your integrity. Recently, a young pastor wrote to me with a heavy heart. He had been invited to a closed leadership meeting, with many well-known pastors in attendance. He explained to me that they talked openly about not using entire verses or passages from the Bible in their sermons and that it was fine to pull snippets of verses and to build entire messages from them, as if too much of the Word would drive people away. He said that they instructed the leaders in attendance not to speak on sin, judgment, conviction, obedience, morality, etc., stating that it is not our job to convict of sin, only the Holy Spirit’s job, as if the hundreds of verses in the Bible dealing with these issues were irrelevant, and as if they knew better than Jesus and the apostles, who often preached with words of deep, biting conviction as they labored together with the Holy Spirit.
And of course, he wrote, they told the other leaders to avoid politics and political issues, which is similar to the mindset of those who chose not to get involved in the divisive slave-trade controversy in centuries past or to oppose the Nazis last century. This, they said, was the path to follow if you wanted to be “successful.” I categorically reject such a definition of “success.” It has nothing to do with the true success of the gospel, which I love and revel in before God. To be absolutely clear, and so that no one thinks that this is a matter of “sour grapes,” I am not speaking about any particular ministry and I have no idea which pastors and leaders were at this meeting. I love and embrace the expansive blessing of God. By God’s grace, I have had the privilege of preaching in some of the largest and most influential megachurches in the world, and their growth was the result of the work of the Spirit in their midst, not the result of carnal techniques. More