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7 Things the Pastor CAN’T Do From the Pulpit

You can’t chew gum in the pulpit or bring your coffee in with you. You can’t preach in your pajamas or lead a worship service in your swimsuit.

But you knew that.

However, some pastors do things every bit as silly as this, and as counterproductive, we must say.

Now, in one sense, a pastor can do anything from the pulpit. Once.

But we’re talking about things no right-thinking, godly pastor should attempt to do from the Lord’s sacred place of leadership in His church.

1. He cannot recommend a book which has questionable material in it.

Nor condemn a book he has not read.

2. Ditto a movie. 

Some movies have much to be commended, but by their horrible language and their using Christ’s name blasphemously, destroy all the good. The pastor will not want to endorse such a movie, even though it has some positive aspects.

3. He cannot bring someone into the pulpit, even for an interview, whose life is a contradiction to the way of Jesus Christ.

There may be a forum for the church to host the mayor who has atheistic beliefs, or a prominent author of a questionable piece, that would not give the impression of endorsing the person’s lifestyle, if that is thought necessary. But a worship service is not the place.

4. He cannot preach that he disbelieves certain scriptures.

Imagine a NASA engineer addressing the astronauts just before their blastoff to inform them that he has no confidence in the integrity of the spaceship, that the onboard computers are untrustworthy, or that there are flaws in the design. He ends with, “Nevertheless, you have a good flight.”

If the preacher disbelieves the Bible, let him resign and find an honest way to make a living.

(Note: In the past, when I have said something similar, people will write to argue that they appreciate the transparency of such a minister who would admit to having the same struggles as they. Far from agreeing with them, I find their point of view amazing. I wonder if they would be willing to undergo surgery when the physician doubts his abilities and questions the procedures.)

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Joe McKeever has been a preacher for nearly 60 years, a pastor for 42 years, and a cartoonist/writer for Christian publications all his adult life. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.