Let us imagine a man, a pastor, who forsakes the traditional trappings of his calling, forgoing the pulpit for a mere stool. He sits, not with the regal bearing of a man called by God to deliver his word, but with the slouching posture of a man worn down by the banalities of everyday life. His voice, not the booming oration of a prophet, but a whiny inflection that speaks to the mundane complaints and grievances of the members of his church, rather than the holiness, righteousness, justice, wrath, mercy, and grace of God.
He preaches not with the fire of the Holy Spirit, but with the apathy of a man going through the motions. His words, lacking the conviction and authority that comes with the preaching of the gospel, fall flat on the ears of his congregation like droplets of water on parched earth. The once-sacred space of the church is now a mere echo chamber for the petty concerns of the congregation, the pulpit, an afterthought replaced by the inadequate representation of a wooden stool, a plastic music stand, and a large computer screen.
This pastor’s name is David Uth and he preaches at First Baptist Church in Orlando, FL—and he, like so many other modern Evangelical pastors today, fails to recognize the gravity of his calling and the dire need of the souls in his care. He fails to grasp the eternal significance of his role as herald of the gospel, reduced to a mere counselor for the temporary and worldly issues.
The “pulpitless pastor” is a relatively new phenomenon, as we see men who should have been called to rightly handle the Word of God, a holy call to be the voice of God, to their congregations, forsake their sacred duties. They abandon the authority of the pulpit, shirking their responsibilities as heralds of the gospel and instead, choosing to speak of the mundanities of life, rather than the eternal significance of the word of God.
On the other end of the spectrum is the the “pastorless pulpit,” which stands as a forlorn monument, a symbol of a forgotten authority and a voice silenced. The pulpit, which once served as the very embodiment of the voice of God, now lies barren, perhaps shifted to a corner of the stage or forklifted to a storage building around back, now bereft of the fiery oration of a preacher called to herald the word of the Lord.
It is a union ordained by the divine will of the almighty, a symbiotic bond that transcends the realms of mortal understanding. The pastor and the pulpit, two entities forever entwined in a sacred matrimony of purpose and function. The pastor, a herald of the divine word, the pulpit, a vessel for its dissemination. Together, they form the very essence of the act of preaching, a ritual steeped in holiness and reverence. To lose the pulpit, is almost to usurp God’s authority—the pulpit aims to minimize the pastor so that God and His Word is magnified.
This is why it is no coincidence that these vainglorious men who’ve abandoned the pulpit have also abandoned sound preaching. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of power, a divine revelation that has the power to save souls from eternal damnation and the wrath of an almighty God. The preaching of this gospel should be the very heart and soul of the Evangelical church, a beacon of hope that shines brightly in a world consumed by darkness. But alas, the power of the gospel has been replaced by a weak and watered-down message that lacks the depth and conviction necessary to bring about true salvation.
The pastors of today have lost sight of the true purpose of their calling, preferring to focus on self-help sermons and motivational speeches that lack the power to truly transform the hearts and minds of their congregants. They have abandoned the authority of the pulpit, forsaking their role as heralds of the gospel, choosing instead to be mere entertainers and purveyors of a secular message. The result is a Church that is impotent, a shadow of its former self, and unable to fulfill the mission for which it was created: to proclaim the good news of salvation to the world.
But the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a message to be taken lightly, it is a message of urgency and eternal significance. The stakes are high, the souls of men and women hang in the balance, and the preaching of the gospel should reflect this fact. The pulpit should be a sacred space where the Word of God is preached with authority, passion, and conviction. It should be a place where sinners are called to repentance, where the lost are brought to salvation, and here believers are strengthened in their faith.
Let us ponder upon the dire and utmost importance of the resurgence of the pulpit as a bastion of authority and the rekindling of the flames of passion within the hearts of pastors, for the sake of the salvation of souls and the sanctity of the Church. The maladies of our current age are evident, as we behold the lamentable spectacle of the “pastorless pulpit” and the “pulpitless pastor” – twin curses upon the Church that has eroded the very foundations upon which the house of God stands.
But there is hope, for the Church can return to its roots, to the preaching of the Word of God with the fervor of the apostles, and reclaim the pulpit as a symbol of authority, the voice of God. The pastors must take the Word of God seriously, with the reverence and earnestness that it deserves, and reclaim their role as heralds of the gospel. Only then, can the Church truly shine as the beacon of hope in a dark and despairing world, fulfilling its mission to bring salvation to the lost and the message of hope to a dying world. Let us heed this call and rise to the challenge before us, with the courage and conviction that is befitting of true servants of the Lord.