“Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.’ Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:30-32.
What preachers do you think God opposes? God told Jeremiah there were three kinds that fall on His “Oppose” list:
- One which uses stories and illustrations of others as if it happened to them (30). I don’t think this prohibits us from using other people’s illustrations, but to falsely claim they are our own is powerless preaching. I recall hearing a preacher use illustrations that I used, but claiming they happened to him or people he personally knew. This would be stealing the words from another.
- One who teaches absolute truth from an abstract use of a scripture (31). Perhaps this includes teaching the fad topics carelessly. We need to be sure, dead sure, of everything we preach when we represent God as God’s messengers. We do not need to preach from books other than the Bible. We need to refrain from preaching anything we discover for at least six months for God to test it in our lives before we proclaim it as truth.
- One who recklessly claims to have a direct order or message from God when God is not in it (32). This is particularly true when God tells you to tell someone something. I hate it when someone tells me, “God told me to tell you this…” I always want to say, “Hmmm, I met with Him this morning and He didn’t mention it.”
It would also be wrong to be such a smart pants if God did send someone with a message to me this way. We need to be careful when we say, “Thus says the Lord…”, and we need to be just as careful when someone tells us, “Thus says the Lord…”