"Self Indulgent Shepherds"
by Holly Dye

In my observance of the church, I have witnessed what can be called effeminate preaching.

Unfamiliar with the word?

Webster’s Dictionary describes effeminate as melting into weakness.
Vincent’s Word Studies describes it as luxurious and dainty
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say of being effeminate: it denotes those who give themselves up to a soft, luxurious, and indolent way of living; who make self-indulgence the grand object of life; who can endure no hardship, and practice no self-denial in the cause of duty and of God.

Effeminate Preaching is a message given that is too soft or too sensitive. This is done so as not to offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable and hurt their self-esteem. Why would pastors do this? They know their people. They know what they like. They know what they hate and they know just what they will eat. So why the frothy sermons?

To help us understand what these sermons have produced, let’s take a look at a popular YouTube video of a young woman who claims to be a Christian and is being questioned by a street preacher. The conversation goes like this:

Street Preacher: What is the most important thing to you?

Woman: My family.

Street Preacher: Is that number one for you?

Woman: Honestly, my family…yes.

Street Preacher: What comes in second?

Woman: Fashion.

Street Preacher: So, first family, second fashion. You have your priorities, right?

Woman: Yah, it feels really good. I love fashion.

Street Preacher: What do you believe about peace?

Woman: It would be great…but…is it gonna happen? Probably not.

Street Preacher: Do you have peace?

Woman: I DO! But you know worldwide, its’ probably not gonna happen, but you know, what are ya gonna do?

Street Preacher: Let’s go a little deeper. What about God? What do you believe about God?

Woman: I love God and I love Jesus Christ, my Savior. (Laughing) … I’m just a normal Christian. I’m from Texas. I love God. I love Jesus. I pray every night, you know.

Street Preacher: But, He’s not very important to you, is He?

Woman: He IS…yah.

Street Preacher: He didn’t even come up on your top list.

Woman: I don’t discuss religion. That’s my personal thing.

Street Preacher: So, when Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”, you disobey.

Woman: No. I love God, but do I have sex premaritally? Yes, I do.

Street Preacher: So, you love your sex life more than you love God.

Woman: I love God and I love Jesus and I pray to Him because I love Him and He is what gives me life…but I don’t necessarily believe what the Bible says because it was written by man. Thank you, goodnight guys.

Who helped this young woman form these distorted views? I dare say, her pastor. It’s all too common. Frothy sermons helped her accept a false assurance.

My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray… (Jeremiah 50:6)

My husband told me of a conversation at his place of employment. Two people were speaking with him, saying that they had been taught that Judas was in heaven because he did God’s will. They had been taught that. Why had they been force-fed this garbage?  I would dare say it’s because the preacher did not want people to be offended. For, if Judas, betraying the Lord, gained an entrance into heaven, then surely you, in your lifestyle, would not be denied a place in God’s kingdom either.

When my husband pastored, he had this saying, “Every time the Word of God is preached, a decision must be made.” Why is this? Simply, the true Gospel brings offense. It is contrary to the general populous and you must make a decision to accept it or to reject it.

Paul Washer said, “I don’t tell you these things to hurt you…I tell you these things because it’s the truth.” The goal of preaching the gospel is not to intentionally hurt people, but the result is – it will. Why? It goes against culture. It goes against the world’s system. Truth has been abandoned in our country and traded for what feels good, what looks good and what makes us successful. Does this sound familiar? Take a look at what the apostle John had to say about it.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (I John 2:16)

Yet, most of the preaching done in the modern church points us to the world. It’s all about ME, ME, ME!!! No wonder the Lord will spew this type of Christianity out of His mouth!

Why do we hear so much about being a “success in life”? In the camp that I have been a part of, success defines God’s approval on you. If you don’t have a large church, if you don’t drive a fine car, if you don’t own a big house, if you don’t have a huge cash flow, then brother, something is wrong with your faith. Because after all, faith only seems needed to possess more things for this life.  I think a song from High School Musical defines this type of church well: “I Want it All”.

Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain… (Isaiah 56:11)

Remember when having moneychangers in the temple made our Lord angry? When did His attitude change over this?  I am aware that I am about to knock over some sacred cows when I say this, but what is going on with having these elaborate bookstores in our churches? They began as a simple, innocent way of getting good messages into our hands that maybe we couldn’t find at the bookstore. Then it went up another notch in saying that you could get them at the bookstore, but this was just for your convenience.  Now days, you can find just about anything in your church’s bookstore. Designer purses, jewelry, t-shirts, golf shirts, hats, toys…the list for your shopping pleasure is practically endless. This has always been disturbing to me. Why are we about merchandising Christianity? Is this for the profit of the church? Is it to make us feel pride in our church? Heaven help us.

“Men are very much inclined to flatter themselves that God is such a one as themselves…” – Matthew Henry

What we have in America are self-indulgent shepherds. The ignorance that is breeding among the sheep has produced a deformed image of Christ.  The grass they have been led to is surely beautiful and green, but laced with poison. They are allowed to stray and bring back beliefs that taint the fold. They are unprotected and wolves have been allowed to come in, dressed in the finest of their wool. Where are the true shepherds? Ah, I see them.  They have abandoned the sheep. There they sit in the highest place, dressed in the finest clothes and eating the finest foods. I only pray they don’t choke on that which they have denied God’s flock.

You can contact Holly through her blog- Refocusing Our Eyes