THE ART OF ALMOST SAYING SOMETHING
In the Church of the last days there is a lack of power to proclaim truth. The reasons are many, but one way that this impotency manifests itself in many church leaders is in their development of the art of almost saying something.
This is true with writers, but is more prevalent with preachers of the Word. And many times the problem is not so much what is said, but what should be said and isn't. God warns the brethren to "be not many masters [teachers], knowing we shall receive the greater condemnation [judgment]" (James 3:1).
Beloved brethren, we are living in perilous times when many leaders are not feeding the meat that is needed to sustain God's people in the war that is raging. We need to speak the truth in love, but we also need to proclaim the undiluted Word of God. "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (1 Cor.14:8).
But many sheep are so malnourished that they cannot see nor hear the battle going on. Why is it that so many church leaders have developed the art of almost saying something? Only a few reasons are listed here, but you will be able to think of more.
First, they fear man more than they fear God. It will be an awesome day when we stand before the Lord on the day of judgment and have to give an account not only for what we taught and preached, but what we should have and did not.
Second, is a lack of Holy Ghost power. Jesus commissioned the eleven Apostles, but He also commanded them to tarry "until ye be endued with power from on high" (Lk. 24:49). These men were believers, but they had not been filled with the Holy Ghost.
There is much reaction to the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements in conservative churches. Because of the over-emphasis of the filling with the Holy Spirit and various gifts of the Spirit, many today go to the opposite extreme and downplay the importance of the same. And some even deny that the filling of the Spirit and the gifts are for today, or at least explain away the plain teaching of Scripture by saying, for example, that all believers are filled with the Holy Ghost when they are converted.
John the Baptizer was "filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb" (Lk. 1:15). And his mother Elizabeth "was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice..." (Lk. 1:41-42). "And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied..." (Lk. 1:67). "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they...were all filled with the Holy Ghost..." (Acts 2: 1, 4). Later it is recorded, "And when they had prayed...they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:31).
Years later, the apostle Paul went to Ephesus "and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?..."And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them..." (Acts 19:1-2, 6). Even deacons, who have the important job of ministering to temporal needs rather than the ministry of the Word, should be chosen from among believers who are not only full of wisdom but also "full of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 6:3). One must have been filled with the Holy Ghost before one can be full of Him.
The Book of Ephesians was written by Paul, not to unbelievers, but to "the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 1:1), and told them to "be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). Not all believers, including church leaders, have been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Third, many leaders have been placed in their position of leadership by an ecclesiastical machine and never have been called by God to the task.
Fourth, many church leaders have developed the art of almost saying something because of denominational loyalty. Many have learned that when they speak or write on certain topics they cannot say what they know is a clear message that is not watered down because it would be contrary to the traditions of the denomination. They know that to do so would jeopardize their position and relationship with relatives and friends who might have a strong party spirit. And like politicians, many church leaders, rather than taking a stand, deliver a message that is constructed in such a way that, if questioned about what they meant, they can answer according to who is doing the inquiring.
Fifth, it is sad, but true, that a leader can only lead a flock spiritually as far as he, himself, has gone. Compared to the lives of the Apostles and the early Church many church leaders today are comfortable and complacent, and know very little, if anything, of persecution, which is the New Testament norm. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim 3:12). "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" (1 Pet. 2:21).
Beloved church leader, if you have developed the art of almost saying something, forsake it. Proclaim God's truths in love, and do it clearly, without ambiguity.