‘POSITIVE ONLY’ PREACHERS
There is a certain kind of preaching which is A to Z, wall to wall, positive.
We could say it’s the best kind.
Some Christians have experienced only a little of what ‘100% positive’ preachers preach.
[But then again who can make such a statement – as to what other Christians have experienced when it is subjectively between you and God?
How much you have experienced of the Divine nature, just as a measure of faith is given to each Christian, is determined by our hunger for The Living God, and the acts of Grace The Lord of all, deems suitable for each individual. Though Saving Grace is equally exercised for all. (II Peter 1/4) (Romans 12/3).
Conversely it is true that the depth to which, we have experienced God, will show in our lives.]
Christian knowledge is true knowledge when accompanied or married-to spiritual experience (of the Christian kind of course).
I am not overly familiar with the controversies that some folks engage in with regard to criticising what I think is called ‘Word of Faith’ preachers. (?)
I personally only see preachers. What they preach I try to discern on an individual sermon per sermon basis.
Many of the ‘Positive-only’ preachers (my description), emphasise faith, faith, faith.
Rightly so – they refer to all the promises of God –
II Corinthians 1/
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
We are challenged to believe the promises, embrace them, and allow the Holy Spirit to make them real, real, real.
When you listen to faith-(‘only’?) preachers, their main concern is to get people out of their limited mentality when it comes to the mightiness of God.
We as human beings sooooo limit God, in our mental appraisal of His Greatness.
But one is tempted to say we are in good company. If you consider Peter and the rest of the disciples good company (?).
I’m guessing we could objectively conclude, that they did not live up to what the faith preachers, would perhaps suggest should be in everyone’s life, permanently, perpetually.
Conversely, once we concede perversely, that ‘all spiritual blessings in heavenly places’ – somehow should ‘not!’ be in our daily lives, then we go against God’s desire for us. (Eph. 1/3)
But the reality of the disciples limitations is also apparent:
Mark 9 – 17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
The disciples openly (howbeit privately to Jesus) confessed their limitations:-
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
When we think of how Peter was used after Pentecost, we can see his/their improvement was down to the work of The Holy Spirit’s actual manifestation/moving, and not just to their mental/spiritual faith development.
So the next time you marvel at how little faith you seem to have, marvel too at how little Peter, James, John, Andrew, et al also initially had.
The ‘Positive Only’ preachers who preach the promises, or simply the Word of God, can seem to be in a league of their own. Elite, untouchable, head and shoulders above the rest of us.
The reason we can perceive them as such – is because they preach The Word of God, and emphasise, rightly, all the promises of God, and all that Christ has purchased for us on the cross, and so it seems that they are swimming in a faith-filled, problem-less existence, where they have only success, success, success.
Unless they tell us of their failures also (?).
As a possible consequence of ‘positive only’ preaching (again my term for it), we can be persuaded to consider that they are as perfect as The Word they preach, (the Bible) and that they have it together 100%. Whereas if such were the case there is no room for improvement, or spiritual growth in their lives.
If what they preach is in The Word, then we aught to embrace it and seek to live-it-out – miracles an’ all.
But sometimes these preachers, in correcting those who have criticised them, or their ‘positive only’ approach, are prone to creating the impression that they (those who criticise them) are lesser individuals, because they do not ‘get’ their positive-plus preaching, or the results that they claim for their lives.
And (it must be also pointed out) that sometimes their critics don’t get what is being preached, because their hearts are skeptical to the point of blatant unbelief.
But it is also possible that those who have faith, are having their present measure of faith undermined and belittled, because it doesn’t fit the preacher’s idea of what it should produce.
Jesus Himself, of course, corrected many:-
…O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me…
But Jesus was perfect in thought word and deed and as such is seated at the right hand of God The Father, in the heaven of heavens – as we speak (and forever).
Preachers representing Jesus the Christ of God, must preach The Word (II Timothy 4/2), and all the purity and perfection of that Word.
But they too are ‘works in progress’.
The ‘positive only’ preachers, having preached against those who believe things are unattainable for mortal man – can create the impression that they have ‘arrived’, and perfectly practice and walk by faith.
Again they may not mean to do this – but the impression can be taken from their positive-only stance.
With that message there can be a certain kind of ‘positive dogmatism’, that leaves out of the picture, e.g. the fact that they had a bad day – the other day – and said something in the flesh. Or that something they prayed for didn’t come to pass.
For example, having prayed for someone to be healed, who subsequently rather – died, wouldn’t exactly re-enforce their faith building message. So often this example from their experience is not mentioned.
Unless to make the point, or suggest, that the person who died, didn’t fully embrace faith as they should have. (Which may or may not be the case).
They can’t bring this failed moment, into their preaching as it takes away from the ‘Positive Only’ message.
However someone listening carefully to a ‘faith/positive only’ ministry, may discern correctly, hints of imperfection, in the course of their presentation of all things bright and beautiful.
That’s just how it is – people not only get the benefit of God’s gifting in an individual whether as an apostle, prophet or teacher, but also we receive the ‘benefit’(?) of their limitations and idiosyncrasies.
(Look for Part II in a few days time)