Almost from the very beginning of the Lord’s church, the terrible spiritual malady of “preacheritis” has plagued the Lord’s church, often causing division and strife that hinders the Lord’s work and stifles spiritual progress. What is “preacheritis,” you ask? If you’ll get out your medical dictionary, you’ll find the “itis” suffix on the end of any medical term indicates a condition of inflammation. For instance the word “arthritis” describes an inflamed joint. Thus, “preacheritis” is a word someone coined to describe the inflammation of the heart, the soul, and most often the tongue, which results in contentions and division in the Lord’s church over a favorite preacher. It is a bad “bug” and a dangerous spiritual ailment, which infects the souls of those who have it, and has hindered the growth of many a congregation where it has sometimes reached epidemic proportions.
Listen to what Paul wrote about this terrible disease, “Now I beseech you, brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me…, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? …For whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? …Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (I Cor. 1:10-13, 3:3-7).
The Scriptures are plain, are they not? Our loyalty must be to God and Christ alone, not to any man. Oh sure, faithful preachers are always appreciative of brethren who loyally support us with your undying love, encouragement, and friendship. But, when we move on, we expect you to do the same for the next man, if he is a faithful preacher of the Gospel.
Some of you brethren in expressing your love for me this week have said, “there will never be another preacher just like you!” But, a month after I’m gone, I know you’ll feel the same way about the new preacher. Some brethren just love preachers, and will do their best to support every faithful brother who preaches God’s Word. I also realize there are other brethren who say out of ear shot, “I hope there will never be another preacher just like you!” I appreciate you too, for you help to keep me humble!
The point is, please don’t let “preacheritis” infect your heart, your soul, or your tongue. Your new preacher will deserve your full support. Whoever the elders select, he will not do things in exactly the same way I did them. His preaching style may be different from mine (I’m sure he’ll preach the same Gospel, but perhaps from a different perspective and with a different style). I can hear some saying, “Hallelujah, now maybe we’ll get out on time!”
What I am asking is, please let the next preacher be himself, and don’t try to make him fit my mold. He will have his own way of doing things. Decide right now you’ll love him, help him, encourage him, and support him in his work, just like you have done for me. Do the same for his wife. If you’ll do that, you’ll see the Lord’s work prosper, and six months from now you’ll all be saying, “David and Janice who?”
By David McCain
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