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Tragedy of The Empty Pulpit

Joe Malone

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" (Rom. 10:13-15).

The foregoing points up the urgent need for preachers of the gospel of Christ. The writer, like many of you, has heard the guess-estimate that there are in excess of 18,000 churches of Christ today, and that we have hardly more than 6,000 full time gospel preachers. If such is anywhere in the neighborhood of being correct, it means, of course, that we have one such preacher for every three pulpits.

God had one Son and he was a gospel preacher. How, under heaven, could we more emphatically drive home the great virtue of that work and the wisdom of pursuing it? Yet apparently few youth from professedly 'Christian' homes are openly expressing a desire to become gospel preachers, and seemingly comparatively few parents are lending any encouragement to their sons to become preachers of the Word.

The population of this nation is increasing at a far more rapid rate than is the membership of the church, to say nothing of the explosive world population. It doesn't take a prophet to tell what will happen unless we institute some substantial changes without delay.

There's nothing strange, therefore, about the world continuing in darkness - in increasing darkness. Men love darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil (John 3:19), and they love evil because they, in overwhelming number, have not heard nor considered the Word of God which condemns such evil. Consequently, they have not had the only motivation in this life that can, by God's grace, accomplish their salvation.

It is a sad commentary on our so-called "Christian" homes to have such a tragic dearth of preachers. There is a crying need for more parents like the noble Hannah, who will dedicate their sons to the service of the Lord. Let it be readily acknowledged that there are many not qualified for the work of preaching the Word for various and sundry reasons. Let it also be acknowledged that we have not a few square pegs in round holes - even in the pulpit. The deplorable truth remains that many fine young men with good minds and personalities and fluent, articulate speech are planning careers in fields which, at best, afford limited influence of a spiritual nature when those same young men could become great movers of men for the Master!

It would be a very salutary thing if every male member of the church would aspire to be, if not a preacher, an elder or deacon. Why not? Maybe it's because we haven't stressed the high and noble character of those offices as we should.

Parents, Bible teachers, Christians, see your responsibility and seize your opportunities! Let's produce more gospel preachers and elders and deacons! -Christian Journal, February 1982.