The unfaithful preacher
(David Porter, "The Nature and Power of Truth")
Ministers of the gospel hold a place of immense responsibility to God and the souls of men. If they suppress the truth as it is in Jesus, for fear of offending their hearers; if they substitute laxness of principle, for the doctrines of the cross; dry external morality for practical godliness--they do it at an awful peril. They are not placed on Jerusalem’s wall to amuse the multitude with a mock religion in human attire. They are not sent forth to fabricate new theories, or gloss the truth, to render it less offensive to the carnal heart. For no such end was the Christian ministry instituted. The gospel heralds are not at liberty thus to aspire. They are ambassadors from God to deliver His message in its true spirit and genuine simplicity. If they depart from this, through cowardice or thirst for popular applause, they are no longer ambassadors of Christ--but traitors to His cause. And can there be a higher crime committed against the Supreme Majesty, than coming out under a cloak of friendship for Christ--and then aiming destruction at His throne? Verily God will not hold them guiltless. Such treachery will not escape with impunity!
And with what face will the unfaithful preacher meet his hearers at the judgment bar? He had taught his hearers--but had taught them to disbelieve. He had confirmed them in their guilt--by refusing to expose it. He had blinded their eyes about God--by keeping His character out of sight. He had feasted their pride--when they needed humbling. He had pleased their fancies--at the expense of their souls. He had inflated them with expectations of heaven--when on the brink of destruction; and closed their eyes, giving them God-speed with a lie in their right hand! And how is he to settle this account on the day of final reckoning! How is he to clear himself from the blood of souls!
With what will he frame his plea in self-defense, against his flock thus accusing and upbraiding him? "We were your flock--and you were our shepherd. With you were the treasures of knowledge and truth. And why did you withhold from us the message you were sent to deliver? We are undone forever through your unfaithfulness. You never taught us the character of our Judge--nor the truth of his Word. The doctrines you taught us to despise--we find to be the truth of God. You allowed us to sport with His sovereignty and decrees, and in this, you did awfully deceive us. You reproved us politely for disgraceful crimes, but never described to us the sin of our nature. When we were sometimes alarmed at our state and prospects, you hushed our fears by crying, 'peace, peace', whereas God had said, there is no peace to the wicked!" How overwhelmed with guilt and horror, will such preachers be with their deceived hearers--on the great day of account!