Playing the preacher free association game...

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(Tim) This morning I got an e-mail from my alma mater marketing her latest preaching conference and I noted that, as usual, her prof of preaching called himself one of the two (or was it three or thirty) "most influential" preachers. He didn't say where he had such influence but I'm guessing he wasn't limiting it to his little 'burb of South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Can you imagine choosing this trademark to sell yourself to Christ's Church? A son of Joe Bayly and Ken Taylor, I find it repulsive.

Wondering where he snatched this claim to fame, I googled "two most influential preachers in the world" and came up with a web site where...

another nationally marketed professor asked those on his blog to comment with their own list of the two most influential preachers in the world. (Well actually, the number isn't two but I don't want to encourage our own readers to waste their time on the specifics.)

Many nationally marketed preachers were listed there by readers of some apparent maturity, so I take their word for it.

Then came this comment:

Since I'm a fairly new Christian, I don't have the best perspective to

answer the question. But other than my own pastor, the pastors

who've influenced me most:

Keller and Bell and Driscoll and Piper and Manning

Note he wasn't simply listing those he sees as influential, but those who'd influenced him. Can you imagine the Reformers' horror finding their names in a list like that?

Erasmus and Calvin and Leo X and Muntzer and Luther and Sadoleto...

We'd all like to attribute such a list to this new believer's immaturity, but that's not going to cut it. At the time of the Reformation, there were many who were immature, yet they would never have come up with such a list. Why not?

Was it because the battle for truth was clear back then but now it's all murky?

Yes, precisely. And who is there to blame but ourselves, men of God's Word? We have preached and taught as if there's no danger, wanting to be seen as reasonable and able to get along with our esteemed brothers with whom we disagree rather than throwing ourselves into the fire and bearing the stripes of our evil age as the Judgment Seat of God approaches.

Christian, check out the zeal for God's Word that characterizes the Reformers and then find a shepherd who seems to be pursuing something approximating that zeal, himself, as he contends for the Faith and the souls God has placed under his charge. This is of eternal importance to your own souls, as well as the souls of those you hold precious. God has given you charge of each of them and one day, like your pastor, you will answer for your work guarding and protecting them from the Spirit of our Age.

And a large part of that protection is the choice you make of a church and shepherd.