Trying to Please Men: A Practice Filled with Danger -- By: George M. Bowman

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 04:2 (Spring 1995)
Article: Trying to Please Men: A Practice Filled with Danger
Author: George M. Bowman

Trying to Please Men: A Practice Filled with Danger

George M. Bowman

Men in ministry soon discover they get a bigger and friendlier response to their preaching when they try to please men and women in their congregations. A. W. Tozer said, “We who witness and proclaim the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world.”

The number of preachers, evangelists, and missionaries who speak primarily to please people is growing every day. This practice, however, is fraught with danger.

The danger comes when their attempts to please men and women lead to making a wrong choice: loving “the approval of men rather than the approval of God” (John 12:43). When they make this wrong choice, they run the risk of displeasing God.

In my judgment, this has come about because they have been led to believe that pleasing people is the best way to build their churches. Focusing on what they and their audiences want, they must make changes that can be devastating to their ministry.

The Bible often warns ministers about pleasing men and the dangers involved in doing so. You can prevent or overcome this problem in your ministry, then, by identifying and avoiding these dangers.

Beware of Setting Wrong Objectives

1. Aiming at Respect

Often a pastor’s desire to gain the respect and win the friendliness of the people in his church and its community is the beginning of a ministry that can displease God. Having set this objective, he will have to dilute the sound doctrine that holds biblical truth in balance.

For example, to please unbelievers, he will have to take their likes and dislikes into consideration. This is dangerous because the Bible says they love sin and hate righteousness.

They have no interest in a God who will call them to give account of what they have done with the life He gave them.

To gain their respect and win their friendliness, the pastor will have to appeal to human reason, emotion and experience. That means he must bypass the authority of the Bible. The sinner desires a god he can manipulate and with whom he can feel comfortable. To please him, the pastor cannot preach about the infinite, unchangeable and holy God of the Bible.

This is why so many man-centered churches and missions have changed the biblical concept of God into a limited god, changeable, and imperfect. God, they say, is going through a maturation or growing process in the same way that man does. This view, of course, leads to the deni...

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