There is a disturbing trend in the Protestant world. The use of obscene and near obscene words in order to provoke praises from the congregation. For your viewing “pleasure,” I submit the following videos (please be seated and try to restrain yourself from throwing something at the monitor):
The Eddie Long (yes, that Eddie Long) clip is the oldest of the three. The other two are recent and the one from Dr. Jamal Bryant I just saw today.
I am not sure if this is anything new. Perhaps there have always been ministers who have tried to push the envelope of what could and could not be said from the pulpit. But, back then there were church elders, deacons, and denominational authorities who were not afraid to correct such foolishness. Back then, there were preachers who were humble enough to admit their fault and not repeat it. I am afraid those days are over as we have a Christian culture which rejects tradition (don’t nobody want to hear them old songs anymore). Older members and those who hold to the idea that some things ought not be said from the sacred desk (Plexiglas) are written off as followers of man’s tradition and not the “Holy Spirit.”
Indeed, to criticize such antics is an invitation to be deemed as “quenching the Spirit.” This is especially true if the preacher is popular and is well educated (Dr. Jamal Bryant), has a prominent title (Bishop Eddie Long), or a female (you just hatin’ on Pastor Leondra Johnson because she is a “mighty woman of God”). In the current Christian culture where the “Spirit” is measured by how many people are excited in worship, any rules of humility, decency, and respect can be thrown out of the window. In the small, rural Baptist church I used to serve, I was approached by my elders for saying “darn” and “funky.” While I did preach a series of sermons on sex, I first warned the congregation that I was going to do it a week ahead of time and I carefully wrote out the manuscripts to make sure my wording was respectful of the house of God.
But in churches where there are few elders and the ones that are there have no backbone to take a stand, a preacher can say whatever he wishes and say that it was the Holy Ghost that moved him to say it. He will call it “Preaching the truth without any sugar-coating.” By claiming the words came from the Holy Ghost, no one can hold him accountable. In our church history, we respect “no sugar-coating” preachers. Thus, the same words heard in dance clubs are heard in modern churches. And as secular culture becomes more tolerant of profanity and nudity, I shudder to think of what we will see and hear in the too near future.
Shock brings in ratings. Over-the-top words and statements attract listeners not so much because they agree with the speaker. But, because they want to see and hear how far he will push the envelope. This is true in comedy, music, political punditry, and other media. Protestantism (and maybe Catholicism and Orthodoxy) is not immune. With liturgical and well-structured denominations, this problem may not be quite as evident. But in the many “non-denominations,” this is a major threat and present danger. The preachers want notoriety to gain members. Some will do this honestly by serving with sincerity. Others will feel the pressure to get more people to follow them and will resort to low methods to do so. These videos ae bad enough. I believe the worst is yet to come.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)