Preacher Peer Pressure
Many Christians judge how good a preacher is by his speaking ability, or good looks, or something else trivial, but how many judge a good preacher by whether or not he is willing to hold to his convictions under pressure? We sometimes use I Cor 15:33 (“Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals” - ASV) to warn our youth against moral peer pressure, and rightfully so. Well there is immense “peer pressure” for a “preacher” (and even regular Christians for that matter) to take the mainline position of their particular segment of the brotherhood on issues there is disagreement on. It is very similar to peer pressure among teenagers; preachers don’t want to seem odd to other brethren (many times their salary depends upon not seeming odd), so they conform to the majority view. And just like with peer pressure among youth, sometimes Bible teachers don’t even realize brotherhood peer pressure is the underlying reason they are doing it.Let me illustrate with some of my observations through the years ...Matt 6:24 reads "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (money), but I remember a preacher who told me privately he did not know what he believed about the Homer Hailey divorce and remarriage position back in 1990 when the NI brotherhood was at a juncture where it wasn't known what side of that issue the majority was going to take. He evidently decided his position after finding out which way the wind was blowing.John 12:42-43 demonstrates how we must stand for the truth even if we lose our position in church because of our stand, but I witnessed a case about twenty years ago where a preacher was real strong against a practice while he was in a private meeting with a close friend and mentor who took that side of the issue, but ceased all opposition to the practice in a follow-up meeting when that old friend was not there and the majority there felt the other way.Matt 10:37 says "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me," but I know a preacher who is very well respected in the brotherhood, and even does a good job with divorce and remarriage topics as a general rule, but he couldn't see that his sister in the flesh was in sin when she left her husband admittedly without scriptural cause (I Cor 7:10,3-5).Along the same lines, I knew a very well respected older brother in Christ who opposes Mental Divorce (Luke 16:18), but several years ago was not willing to make that stand when a relative took the position.Still speaking of Mental Divorce, I knew a well respected preacher who stood for the truth on that issue, but he and the congregation he was with could not see such a case in their own midst. Sometimes it is easy to stand for the truth as long as that stand doesn't affect me (Matt 10:34), as long as the problem is somewhere else.Several years ago, a younger brother in Christ asked me to debate a denominational preacher that had challenged his beliefs, but when the debate happened, the younger brother was pressured into not attending by his local preacher. This in spite of the fact that God shows His approval many times over for such type Bible studies, for example, see Acts 19:8-10.And I spoke with one of our most popular meeting preachers years ago because it seemed he would never preach on issues in which he believed something different than his audiences. Suffice it to say he was not willing to change his practice based upon my admonition. His way is a sure way to keep getting further opportunities, but Luke 6:26 says "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."Conclusion: It is easy to stand for the truth when that stand doesn't cause any personal sacrifice on our part (Luke 14:33).