Paul warned Timothy about the time when people would gather teachers to suit their own passions and preach to itchy ears. We already considered five last time. Here are five more:
6. Preacher Worm – this is a variation on Preacher Hard. Unlike the spiritual personal trainer, this preacher meets people needs simply by making them feel bad. Woe is me! I am a worm. Bizarrely, this can be attractive to human flesh (sort of spiritual masochism)
7. Preacher Prof – some people love listening to an apparently intelligent and well-informed preacher. I say apparently because they don’t necessarily need to be able to understand, but it does something for them to watch a scholar in action. Strangely, this kind of intellectual curiosity, even when bereft of life and relevance, can scratch some ears.
8. Preacher Cliché – this preacher is neither intellectually rigorous, nor homiletically purposeful. Rather than seeking to preach meaningfully, this preacher satisfies listeners by parroting clichés and stock phrases in Christianese. What they say may amount to nothing, but they may thrive on the praise that comes their way after they finish. Some listeners love a good dose of clichés.
9. Preacher Deep – this preacher may or may not say things that are deep and spiritual, but this preacher sounds deep and spiritual. Their poetry helps. And their frequent references to their own amazing times with God. Listeners feel the inadequacy of their own spirituality and so love to be in the presence of one so deep and spiritual. The anointing is tangible. The preaching is almost irrelevant.
10. Preacher Bash – all this preacher needs is a target that is acceptable to the listeners. It could be the enemy atheists, or the pagan culture, or people of a specific race, or another denomination . . . as long as the listeners appreciate hearing a good bashing of absent enemies, the preacher will scratch itchy ears time and again.
Just like before, if any cap fits, quit the ministry for a while and get sorted. Next time, another five . . .