Leo Van Dolson is an executive editor of Ministry


IN ONE sense the minister should be a crowd pleaser. His main task is that of preaching, and his sermons should be not only deeply spiritual and inspirational but also interesting.

There is another sense, however, in which clergymen should not be crowd pleasers. The old cliche that states "the crowd is always wrong" may not be democratic, but it conforms with Christ's description of the broad way that "leadeth to destruction" (Matt. 7:13).

There is a current "broad way" morality that sees no wrong in sexual promiscuity, impurity, dishonesty, cheating, and lying as long as "every body is doing it." It is not popular to refrain from "going along with the crowd" and hold Christ's standard high, but it is what God expects of the born-again spiritual leader.

When the crowd bowed the knee to Baal, Elijah stood alone on Mount Carmel. The three Hebrew governors stood out like sore thumbs on the Plain of Dura, and Joseph went to prison for what many today would consider narrow-mindedness .

Jesus was one of the greatest crowd pleasers ever. He was such a popular healer and teacher that it was difficult for Him to find time to be alone with His Father. Yet He was never "one of the crowd." He stands head and shoulders above everyone else who has ever lived on earth in moral purity. His life is the demonstration of what God makes possible for us. In this respect, the crowds weren't pleased. His life was such a rebuke to the pious pretensions of so many of His day that they couldn't stand having Him among them. His first "pastorate" was Judea. After about a year there they as much as told Him to get out and warned that if He ever came back they'd kill Him. His second year of ministry was in Galilee. There they rejected Him because He refused to become the popular kind of "messiah" they wanted. After His third year of itinerant preaching, He was crucified mainly because He was so different from the crowd.

We will, of course, be known by the company we keep, and although it may be lonely for a while, what a glorious privilege it is to belong to the "crowd" that includes Jesus, Enoch, Joseph, Daniel, Paul, and John the Beloved!

L. R. V. D.

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Leo Van Dolson is an executive editor of Ministry

March 1977

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