For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.—2 Timothy 4:3-4
Anyone who may struggle with doubt should mingle with the church members on a Sunday morning and listen in on the conversation. I like the way the pastor preaches or he makes me feel good or I don’t like what he wears or how he looks. This is what I want in a church or this is why I’m leaving the church.
People want what they want. And churches come in all stripes and colors—denominational or independent, mega-size or family size, traditional hymns or contemporary music, strict rules or sound doctrine—no one needs to stay where they are unhappy. So, what do they do? They keep moving from church to church. If they’re persistent enough, they may end up in your church!
The Gospel of Itching Ears says pastors should speak nice words, never rock the boat, and choose only those teachings that the congregation agrees on. Or better still, avoid preaching on difficult doctrines altogether and stick to subjects that sellout crowds.
The apostle Paul issues a fair warning to the church. He implied that sound teaching may be unpleasant to the ears. At times, the message we preach today may also hurt many ears. God’s truth preached by a faithful disciple of Jesus does several things: It rebukes our self-centeredness, it holds us to a higher standard, and it is like surgery or medicine in that for the short term it can be painful, but in the long run it will bring healing to our soul.
First Filipino American United Church of Christ
461 Linden Avenue
San Bruno, California 94066