The Power of Being Positive
by Steve Hale
At a lectureship a few years ago, I recall hearing a prominent preacher
say: "I am positive about negative preaching." The gist was that
faithfulness was contingent upon the manner with which one dealt with
false doctrine. Unless one is totally consumed with such an endeavor, he is not faithful.
I beg to differ with this brother. Surely we understand that the truth must be defended ( Acts 22:1ff.; Philippians 1:16-17). False teachers and false Christs must be exposed ( Matthew 24:24). We mu&t not be cowards about so doing (Rev. 21:8).
Yet, the gospel is by its very definition positive! The word gospel simply means "good news, glad tidings of good things." The gospel of Christ is God's power to salvation ( Romans 1:16, 17). The good news is that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and resurrected according ta the scriptures ( 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
The key to good, sound, healthy preaching is balance! We must not be carried away with extremes or hobbies. To be positive without genuineness is an unfortunate sham.
Cindy and I were invited to a meeting when we lived in Kentucky, though the purpose of it was not disclosed. When we got there, the atmosphere was like that of a charismatic meeting. The purpose: to sell skin care products. Shouts of "that's right" and "amen" were common.
Maybe these folks were sincere. I don't know. It's hard to believe anyone would get that excited over cold cream! As in anything else, phony positiveness is contemptible ( Romans 12:9)!
Just as unhealthy is to be constantly in the objective case and the kickative mood. Oppose, oppose, oppose. No, no, no. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Let's think through this for just a minute. Something is right or wrong if it is in opposition to God's will, or if it is against one's conscience ( 1 John 3:4; 1 Corinthians 8:7-13). Further, it is wrong if it violates civil government assuming that ordinance does not contradict the will of God ( Romans 13:1ff.).
Negative brother or sister, why do you oppose a certain thing? rs it merely your opinion? Tradition? Personal tastes? These are not valid reasons! If the Lord opposes it, then let's oppose it! But, if it is good, and violates no scriptural principles, let's be for it!
Jesus lives! That's good news! Belonging to the resurrected :Lord should be the greatest and most important thing in life! Draw others to Jesus by sharing this good news!
Let's strive to be balanced and genuine! Do not be ruled by what others say or think. Be ruled only by King Jesus ( Matthew 28:20).
January 21, 1990
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