THE DEATH of THE PREACHER
by James Smith
I am sorry to be the one to have to report that preparations are
underway for the funeral of an American mainstay: the Preacher.
In the event of his death, there will be no open casket or time of
visitation, for most of his friends would not want to be seen as
such in a spirtitual climate such as we have today in America.
For those who are unfamiliar with the preacher, his story can be
found in virtually every chapter of American history. You could find
him in the first colony that landed on Plymouth Rock and you
could find him shaking the windows of Philadelphia before, during
and after the American Revolution.
The preacher was active on both sides of the War Between the
States. D.L Moody served as a missionary on the front, finding out
if dying men were saved before they perished. And in the South,
the preachers would hold impromptu baptism services whenever
they could, sometimes even in the midst of battle and in full view
of the enemy.
At the turn of the century we had the Pentecostals preaching
harder than just about any group who had come before them and
Billy Sunday thundered for prohibition and the dangers of alcohol
to a nation that was drunken with its own excess.
America heard the voices of A.W. Tozer and Paris Reidhead
preach a true Prophetic call. We heard the voice of Allen, Branham
and Coe, Roberts and W.V. Grant Sr. tell us that God was still a
healer, still a deliverer and still a savior.
America heard Davy Wilkerson tell of the trauma in our inner cities
and of the dangers coming if we could not repent. We heard
Shambach take up the torch of faith when all of the old voices had
We heard Lester Sumrall and we were awed at the reality of the
power of God if we could just believe. We heard Jimmy Swaggart
and in his voice we heard the end of an era, though we did not
know it at the time.
Today in America the voice of the preacher has fallen silent. And I
am grieved to carry to your itching ears the somber news that the
voice that we need to hear now more than ever, may never be
heard from again.
The preacher, that icon of American religion, the last of a species
from a long and noble line, has been on an unpublished
endangered species for decades. And here at the turning of the
tide, at that moment when it would seem that we need him the
most, his absence leaves a hole that can be felt only by the
discerning heart that longs after God.
For in these days of the soft Prophet, the teacher, the encourager
and the snake-oil salesman, the voice that calls you to awaken
from your positivity-induced slumber is not welcome. Who wants
to hear someone yell for an hour, they say. Who in their right mind
wants a return to the days of fire and brimstone when men spoke
for God and called the comfortable to repentance and the
lukewarm to task?
Who would want a return to those days when the church sought
those who were lost, called the prodigal home and searched the
hearts of the un-consecrated in the sheepfold?
We eagerly await the news, it seems, that the voice of the
preacher has fallen silent for good. That the one who troubled us is
gone and his like shall not be seen again anymore.
But the annals of history shall reveal I fear, the terrible truth: that
should we chose to let the preacher die - we choose to let the
hopes of revival and indeed, the salvation of our nation die as well.
And choose it is, have no doubt about that. We choose when we
do not pray for those standing between the living and the dead,
calling for reinforcements in the battle of the ages. We choose
when we withhold support, we choose when we do not attend
meetings, we choose when we do not invite them to our churches
We choose, all of us. And that choice is to leave this nation in the
spiritual hands of the mealy-mouthed purveyors of the humanistic
Gospel. It is to abandon the morals of our nation to the oversight
of those who will not offend the masses - so long as they continue to give.
To choose wrong now will set the course of this nation in the future
towards a port we do not wish to disembark at.
And the choice is yours, now.
Choose well, church, choose well.
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