Appealing But Not “A-Pauline”! Leslie Holmes July 25, 2007 Did you read about Arizona’s pounding pavement pelicans this summer? In July the Arizona Game and Fish Department was called upon to nurse over 30 dehydrated, emaciated, banged-up pelicans. From Yuma to Phoenix, these birds were literally flying into the pavement. How did it happen? Affected by a fish shortage along the west coast, they headed inland toward Arizona. Tired and deluded by the heat, the pelicans mistook the shining summer sidewalks and roads for creeks and lakes. They headed for water but it wasn’t water, it was pavement! BAM! Some died. Almost all the survivors were seriously injured. “There are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group” (Titus 1:10). He sounds good and millions gather to hear him preach the good news. The problem is his news is not good. It is, in fact, as the apostle tells us, “another gospel.” It may sound appealing but it will never be “A-Pauline” – that is, it will never fit the model of Paul’s faithful preaching. Jesus says, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4,5). His name is Moon, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and millions follow him. Even a number of pastors have been lured into participation in groups that turn out to be sponsored by Moon-connected organizations. Isn’t it amazing that so many bad things first come dressed in the garb of good things? It’s like a package containing a bomb. It troubles me that Sun Moon was first ordained as a Presbyterian. Then, somehow, he went astray. Or, maybe he was always astray and it just showed better with the passing of time. Then I remember Paul’s warning to young Timothy, “Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm” (1 Timothy 1:6,7), and horror strikes me: “It could have been me. It could be me!” It could have been you! Don’t let it be. Never allow the allure of popularity and large crowds to be the final measure of your faithfulness in preaching. Make sure your preaching is both appealing and “a Pauline.” Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your words and your ways every day and every time you mount your pulpit. _______________________ Robert Leslie Holmes is pastor of Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church near Columbia, SC and a contributing editor to Preaching. His new book, When Good Enough Just Isn’t Good Enough: Pursuing Organizational Excellence (Ambassador-Emerald Intl.) is due out later this year. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.