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5 Signs of Ear-Tickling Preachers

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    5 Signs of Ear-Tickling Preachers

    Paul warned Timothy that the "time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

    That warning proved true in Timothy's day, and it has proved true many times since, especially today, when we have a multitude of ear-tickling preachers. How can we recognize them?

    We know that deception is very deceiving and that no one is willingly duped. And we know that no one stands up and says, "What I'm teaching is false doctrine meant to deceive and destroy you!"

    We also know that it is arrogant for any one of us to think that we alone have sound doctrine while everyone else is in error.

    Yet Paul did not warn Timothy in vain, nor is he warning us in vain, and so we must ask ourselves what, exactly, are the distinguishing characteristics of ear-tickling preachers.

    1. Ear-tickling preachers bypass self-denial and the cross. Jesus told His disciples that if anyone wanted to follow Him, they had to deny themselves and take up the cross (see Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; in Luke 9:23 He says we must take up our cross daily). And Paul taught that "those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24).

    Saying no to self and taking up the cross—meaning, giving up the claim to our own lives, dying to this sinful world and renouncing its claims—is a fundamental part of discipleship. Yet ear-tickling preachers will not talk about it.

    The reason is obvious: It is not what our flesh wants to hear.

    2. Ear-ticking preachers go light on sin. Throughout the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament, including the Gospels, Acts, the Letters, and Revelation, there are warnings about the dangers of sin and calls to turn away from sin.

    Of course, it is absolutely true that through the death and resurrection of Jesus and by the power of the Spirit we have been given victory over sin. And it is absolutely true that the message of grace, rightly understood, turns us away from sin (see Titus 2:11-14).

    But that doesn't mean that as leaders, we no longer need to warn our hearers about the deceitfulness of sin or urge them to vigilant against sin. To the contrary, because so much grace has been given to us, our responsibility before God is even greater (see Hebrew 2:1-4; 10:26-31; 12:25-29).

    3. Ear-tickling preachers are loved by the world. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul recounted the persecutions and suffering he endured for the gospel—they were frequent and intense—and then said, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:12-13).

    Jesus said that the world would treat us the way it treated Him (John 15:18; Mat. 10:24-25) and that His disciples, like the prophets of old, would be persecuted for righteousness sake (Matthew 5:10-12).

    "If you were of the world," He said, "the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19).

    But the world doesn't hate ear-tickling preachers because they are "of the world" in their approach to the gospel.

    It is one thing to have a good reputation for integrity and purity and to live out what we preach. It is another thing when our message does not offend sinners. As Jesus warned, "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26).

    4. Ear-tickling preachers tell the flesh what it wants to hear. The Old Testament prophets had to deal with this all the time. As Isaiah wrote long ago, "For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, 'Do not see,' and to the prophets, 'Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel'" (Isaiah 30:9-11).

    In other words, "Don't make us uncomfortable, preacher! Don't make us squirm! Stop confronting us with the standards of a holy God!"

    A friend recently shared with me that he learned that the owner of a local strip club was attending the same church that he and his family attended.

    His sister-in-law approached the pastor and asked him about it, and the pastor said, "At least he's coming to church. That's better than not coming at all."

    That would be true, except that the pastor never said a word about sin and never said anything that would make the man uncomfortable about his exploitation of young women (and others). And so rather than this man getting convicted of his sins and discovering the life-changing love of God, he went home deceived.

    Ultimately, my friend and his family had to leave.

    5. Ear-tickling preachers get away from the Word and give way to myths. They may use a verse or two in their preaching, but their sermons are driven by their own worldly ideology—especially if it sells—rather than by the content of the Word.

    Some even get into the realm of complete fantasy, preaching alleged heavenly or angelic revelations that titillate the ears of the pseudo-spiritual but do not exalt Jesus, do not turn people away from sin, and do not produce lasting spiritual fruit.

    I personally believe there are preachers today who genuinely know the Lord but have bought into a lie about the nature of the gospel, and while they think they are helping people, they are really hurting them in the long run.

    May God grant these men and women repentance—especially those who actually are charlatans and deceivers—and may God give us discernment, repentance, and a love for the truth, regardless of cost or consequence.

    Source: 5 Signs of Ear-Tickling Preachers — Charisma News

    #2
    You could almost correlate the amount of apostasy by the size of the church.
    Comment>

      #3
      Obviously inspired, superbly written, embracing authentic Christians.
      Comment>

        #4
        I once encountered a pastor on the internet, who said that, if he preached what he found in the Bible, his congregation would have him looking for another job.
        Comment>

          #5
          Originally posted by ThyWordisTruth View Post
          I once encountered a pastor on the internet, who said that, if he preached what he found in the Bible, his congregation would have him looking for another job.
          I don't doubt that a bit. And it is SAD. But upon thinking about it -- why would a preacher accept a call from a church who didn't want him to preach Bible. Maybe a disconnect in Communication 101. Unless the church people had been a while without a pastor and they were willing to take Anyone -- just so they had a pastor and the pastor needed a job. It's a sad situation for everyone.
          Comment>

            #6
            As much as I would like this to be untrue, I believe it is all truth.
            Comment>

              #7
              Originally posted by Knotical View Post
              You could almost correlate the amount of apostasy by the size of the church.


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              God bless,
              William
              Comment>

                #8
                I was impressed by Joseph Prince when he first appeared in the U.S., (TBN), presenting the Gospel of Grace (unmerited favor). I watched him infrequently. Yesterday I watched him present tongues, healings - the "Word of Faith" teaching, offering books, cd's on the subject. I won't buy any of it ($$$) and I won't watch him ever again. He joined the ranks of Kenneth Copeland, Charles Capps, Creflo Dollar, and so many others that spend our time "teaching" lecturing, "revealing" Biblical insights "we didn't know about". Places of assembly (including football stadiums) are jammed to capacity. A TV preacher cries out, "the Holy Spirit is all over this place," causing the crowds to leap to their feet, lift their hands, smile and weep for "joy." As soon as the service ends, all the clamor ends: the plug is pulled. One wonders how many of those in attendance were accompanied by the Holy Spirit when they walked into the place initially. How many of those non-Christians in attendance will jump for "joy," confess the "sinner's prayer" where they stand or at the altar, without a clue as to what they are doing...
                Comment>

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Winken View Post
                  I was impressed by Joseph Prince when he first appeared in the U.S., (TBN), presenting the Gospel of Grace (unmerited favor). I watched him infrequently. Yesterday I watched him present tongues, healings - the "Word of Faith" teaching, offering books, cd's on the subject. I won't buy any of it ($$$) and I won't watch him ever again. He joined the ranks of Kenneth Copeland, Charles Capps, Creflo Dollar, and so many others that spend our time "teaching" lecturing, "revealing" Biblical insights "we didn't know about". Places of assembly (including football stadiums) are jammed to capacity. A TV preacher cries out, "the Holy Spirit is all over this place," causing the crowds to leap to their feet, lift their hands, smile and weep for "joy." As soon as the service ends, all the clamor ends: the plug is pulled. One wonders how many of those in attendance were accompanied by the Holy Spirit when they walked into the place initially. How many of those non-Christians in attendance will jump for "joy," confess the "sinner's prayer" where they stand or at the altar, without a clue as to what they are doing...
                  I know a lot of people that were impressed with Joseph Prince. I remember viewing his show for the first time and I heard gibberish. I was like, what did he say? Then I realized he was trying to speak in tongues.

                  Hilarious.

                  God bless,
                  William
                  Comment>

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Winken View Post
                    I was impressed by Joseph Prince when he first appeared in the U.S., (TBN), presenting the Gospel of Grace (unmerited favor). I watched him infrequently. Yesterday I watched him present tongues, healings - the "Word of Faith" teaching, offering books, cd's on the subject. I won't buy any of it ($$$) and I won't watch him ever again. He joined the ranks of Kenneth Copeland, Charles Capps, Creflo Dollar, and so many others that spend our time "teaching" lecturing, "revealing" Biblical insights "we didn't know about". Places of assembly (including football stadiums) are jammed to capacity. A TV preacher cries out, "the Holy Spirit is all over this place," causing the crowds to leap to their feet, lift their hands, smile and weep for "joy." As soon as the service ends, all the clamor ends: the plug is pulled. One wonders how many of those in attendance were accompanied by the Holy Spirit when they walked into the place initially. How many of those non-Christians in attendance will jump for "joy," confess the "sinner's prayer" where they stand or at the altar, without a clue as to what they are doing...


                    And doing it 'without a clue as to what they are doing...".is So Sad.

                    I've heard Joseph Prince on TV once in a while -- he Can sound impressive. And That is the problem. But we Do have the freedom to worship as we personally want to -- so. We can always turn the channel.
                    Comment>
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