The Spiritual Bedside Manner of a Passionate Preacher

Some thoughts from Jeremiah 8.

To be called a Jeremiah is to be accused of being extremely negative about the human race. He was a little like the modern journalist in that he had a lot of negative things to report. However, unlike our journalists he told the truth and there was a good deal of consistency in what he said. He didn’t make the stupid mistake of thinking there was still hope in humanity in spite of the things they did. When he sat down to write about the evil in his world he didn’t do it so he would have some juicy stories to excite his readers and increase the circulating of his book. He wrote so that the people of God could see exactly what they had turned themselves into.

He lays the charges before them: “they cling to deceit”, “they do not say what is right” “No one repents of his wickedness” “Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle” He exposes their futility: “Since they have rejected the Lord what kind of wisdom do they have?”

His greatest condemnation was towards the ones who were meant to be spiritual leaders: “Prophets and priests alike all practice deceit, they dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace peace’ they say when there is no peace”

A while ago Anglican Philip Jensen, denounced the Archbishop of Canterbury, the world leader of the Church of England, as a theological prostitute who took his salary under false pretences. Heavy stuff even from Phillip but was he right in saying what he did?

Some back here in Sydney were quick to distance themselves. Even those who might privately agree with the sentiments thought Philip had been intemperate in his comments. Philip has a reputation for being less than diplomatic at times but he at least takes the predicament of his church seriously.

When people in medicine are caught acting against the ethics or standards of their profession they are firmly dealt with because lives are at stake. How much more important is a person’s eternal life? If we refuse to tolerate slackness and a disregard for the truth in medicine, why is it that so many people can be so cavalier when it comes to spiritual things?

God spoke through Jeremiah to a nation who thought they could fiddle with the truth of His word and get away with. It cost him dearly he was hated and persecuted, even accused and found guilty of treason. However Jeremiah was faithful because he knew that he was dealing with incredibly important matters.

How important is the truth to you?

Who offends you most people who adjust God’s truth to fit their fancy or the likes of Philip Jenson who occasionally embarrass us with his forthrightness? When my life’s at stake I want more than good bedside manner, I want a man who takes me seriously enough to tell me the truth I cannot be saved any other way.

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