For it is said, “His letters are weighty and powerful, but his physical presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing.” – 2 Corintians 10:10


Paul was a man of tremendous intelligence. The mysteries of God had been revealed to him, things that were hidden in times past. His letters and sermons were deep and of great theological weight.


However, it was said of him that, “his physical presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing”. Even with the knowledge he had, many did not like his way of speaking or preaching. He said true things, yes, pure words of God, nothing that was not biblical. But he was not as eloquent as other preachers, or even the philosophers of his day. We must remember that when we judge our pastors, or any preacher of the Word.


God has given pastors and teachers to His church as gifts to build up believers. At the same time, just like the different authors of the gospels, each one has his own distinct way of communicating the same truths. Some sound better than others, some have more passion than others, some are more eloquent and academic than others, each one is an individual person. And none of them will perfectly please your standard, opinion, tradition, or preference.


The question is whether they are faithful in preaching the Bible. Do they love the Word and the Lord and the church? Perhaps they do not preach in the way that you prefer. Perhaps they fail in one point or miss a detail of a text. But the question is whether God is building His people through that man? Does he have his weaknesses? Does he have his struggles and sins? Of course! They will have some theological differences with what you understand from Scripture in certain aspects too, yes! Almost always, at least in something for sure. But it is okay and normal as long as they are not fundamental things of faith where they fail.


We must strive to have unity in what is primary, liberty in what is secondary, but love in all things. There is true beauty in that diversity. I fear it is pride that causes us to despise those who don’t do things exactly the way we think they should be done. In many cases, it is something more traditional than Scriptural that we have a problem with.


We have several examples in the Scriptures of men who preach or tell stories correctly, but in different ways. Apollos was praised for his eloquence… while others despised Paul. Some include details that others do not, and vice versa. But are they preaching the Word in such a way that it is clear what they are saying in the text, and the brothers in the congregation are being benefited and built up by the teaching? Are they joyful and do they express to you how God has spoken to them and taught them something that they now understand they must change in their lives, giving thanks to God for those same sermons that others despise and judge?


They look at the men that God has greatly used in the past and present and compare their sermons. Spurgeon, Edwards, Whitfield, Pink, Tozer, Piper, MacArthur, etc. They all preach the Word, and with excellence! Some with different methods, some with more passion. Not only in the communication of the message, but also in the way it is organized. It is a beautiful thing how God, through different men and in different ways, always does His will through His Spirit to speak to and edify His people. At times, Spurgeon’s sermons sounded more like poetry than anything else.


When we cling to one method, and in our futile way try to limit the Holy Spirit of God by saying that only in such a way should a sermon be, and if not, the people will not be edified, we are showing nothing more than a deep pride in our hearts and a certain level of immaturity. The most important thing in any preacher’s message is that Christ is lifted up, that God is glorified,… but there is also much wisdom in the following verse.


Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written.” The purpose is that none of you will be arrogant, favoring one person over another.   – 1 Corinthians 4:6


It is true that there are better and more accurate methods than others. There are ways to preach more academically and effective than others in that sense. For the record, I personally am a fan of sound exegesis similar to the method of Simeon Trust. I like to examine the Greek and seek to have the confidence that I am saying what the text is actually saying and not something else. But when we set ourselves up as the ultimate judge of these things, especially when we are not a pastor, do not know the inner struggles of each man, the unique way each of us are wired, or when we are not appreciating the time and effort that man gives to be able to preach that message to the best of his ability at that moment, we are doing what the Word says we should not do. Complaining….


´ “Do everything without complaining or arguing,” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14‬ (For the theologians out there- if I understand the immediate context of this text, however, this can easily be applied to every aspect of Christian life.)


How easy it is to criticize instead of loving them and receiving the good from the message that was preached. How easy it is to desire another church, another pastor, or a better specific method of preaching, Instead of loving the church we have, loving the pastor we have, and looking for the good in what was preached instead of criticizing with crossed arms like the expert we probably are not. 


Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. Sound teaching is important. Solid biblical exposition is important for the health and growth of the church, and I certainly promote both things. But even within the camps of sound doctrine and good biblical expositors, unfortunately it has become a trend to despise local pastors and glorify the celebrities. But while the well known pastors may preach well, they are still sinful men at best. Furthermore, they don’t even know you exist, meanwhile your local pastor regularly prays for you and has probably shed tears before the Lord on your behalf. Let that sink in for a minute.


We should be more careful how we treat our brothers, Philippians 2 teaches us that the humility of Christ is what brings unity in His church. And the lack of humility in any member of the church, for any reason, will only bring division and the opposite of what Christ truly desires of us. The same ugly attitude that causes us to complain, the desire for a better pastor, a better church, a better spouse, a better child or a better job are all from the same ugly root of ungratefulness. In other words, without being aware of what we are actually saying, we are thinking that God has somehow not been good to us, and we foolishly think that we deserve more or something better. It reeks of that which caused the fall in the beginning. We should guard our hearts of such things. Let him who has ears, let him hear. Pray.


The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. – 1 Timothy 5:17


“Above all, let your love for one another be fervent, for love covers a multitude of sins.” – ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:8‬


“Fools do not care to have understanding; they only want to express their own opinions.” – ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:2‬ ‭


“Whoever keeps his words has knowledge, And the one who is calm in spirit is a man of understanding.” –  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:27‬


Written by Antonio Salgado


Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.


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