Sometimes pulpits (and I don’t mean only those found in churches but those on social media too) are used as ammunition stations throwing hand grenades at whoever is listening. I don’t like that.
But I also don’t like soft-play pulpits either. I like pulpits that are not afraid to open the Bible. I heard someone say the other day in defending her position, “I know it says in the Bible however …”and I should have responded with ‘say that again, but don’t used the word however.’ But I didn’t because I didn’t want to offend and she looked scary!
It seems that pulpits shouldn’t mention certain things anymore. We must not offend anyone ever. In fact if we permitted the editing of the Bible so that no one was hurt by what it said then we would not have much left. I was talking with a Church team recently about whether or not when I come to them I preach on tithing because ‘we don’t want the Church to think we are asking for money’. However the Church team really need their Church to tithe. We decided to go ahead and I am praying for that opportunity which is coming up soon. Pulpits can become the most uncertain, watered down, soft spaces, as we talk so mystical, so accepting that no one really has a clue what we are saying. The gospel doesn’t make sense unless we know what we are needing to be saved from. Preachers don’t need to lay their lives down if no one is calling for their blood because they have been hurt.
“I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15 Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me.” (Romans 15 v 14-15)
He has never visited them but he is convinced by what he seemingly has heard about them that they are definitely part of God’s family as he is.
They are not a new community of converts but they are mature in the faith.
They are “full, filled and competent”.
He has been bold in what he has written to them. He is risking them being offended.
He knows he has written old truths. He is risking them responding with ‘we know this!”
He has done this because of God. The risk of being misunderstood by the Gentile Church of Rome is nothing compared to the risk of not pursuing the call of God on his life which he calls grace.
The Apostle knows that even the saints of Rome need bold Bible preaching!