Readers - I want to share a few thoughts on Mac's sermon Sunday entitled "And the Iron Did Swim". Mac on our Chest of Joash Sunday 9/28 reached back into our church history and preached on the same scripture, II Kings 6:1, that the Lindsay's often used over 60 years to recount the history of miracles at our church. Listening to Mac's sermon, which I found quite empty and uninspiring, has caused me to reflect on the question: what is the difference between Mac's preaching "The Iron Did Swim" and the Lindsay's preaching? What made the Lindsay's preaching so powerful?
Its quite an appropriate question to ask ourselves at this point, given that Mac has decided to use this scripture and sermon title from the past. Mac's sermon was full of interesting history of our church and references to Homer Lindsay, Sr. But to help understand the difference between Brunson and Lindsay I went back and listened to Homer's sermon from sometime in the early 1990's - most of the members have this as it is in the "Best of Homer, Jr" tapes we received in 2000 when Dr. Lindsay, Jr. died. I recommend that readers who have access to this sermon listen to it again.
Some random thoughts when dwelling on Brunson and Lindsay:
- Homer oft used the "The Iron Did Swim" sermon to express thanks for the many miracles that God did and was doing at our church. Very positive. Homer would go over the miracle of our youth ministry, of our men's ministry, of souls being saved, people loving Jesus and their community. Always Homer acknowledged these miracles were 100% God miracles, not man-manufactured miracles. Contrasted with Mac, who on 9/21 preached a sermon to showcase all that he and Smyrl have done through the theology driven ministry - all the wonderful things Mac has done (e.g. Shelly B: "Thank you Dr. Brunson for theology driven ministry..."). On Sunday 9/28 Mac turned the "Iron Did Swim" sermon on its head, to use the scripture to accuse us of losing our "spiritual edge" (whatever that is) as a metaphor for the axe head falling in the water...and at one point said we should "...pray to get God's spiritual edge back in your life." OK...so let's all pray: "Dear Lord, we pray to receive our spiritual edge".
- One of the very striking differences in the preaching of Homer and Brunson is: JESUS. Mac again Sunday barely mentioned the name Jesus. Just twice. Homer's sermons in general, and his sermon on "The Iron Did Swim" he mentions Jesus over and over. Love for Jesus. Love for souls accepting Jesus. A lighthouse for Jesus Christ.
- Homer loved his people. Oh, he preached hard. But Homer recognized that in his large congregation there were people at all different spiritual levels: some very committed and mature, some new Christians, some back-slidden, a few recalcitrants and some wolves in sheep's clothing. But the difference: Homer AND Vines preached the Word, always in love but in truth, and they let the Holy Spirit do the convicting. Mac just preaches hard on people, at times twists scripture to intimidate and instill fear - as though he doesn't trust God's word to be fitted to the many different spiritual hearts in the congregation. No doubt Homer loved his people.
- Another striking difference is root of the motivation for all that is done at FBC Jax. When Homer and Vines preached about giving and serving, it was to motivate us out of our devotion and love to Jesus Christ first, and out of love for our neighbors and friends second. Mac once again Sunday as he has done since arriving, tries to manipulate people to give and serve out of fear, out of duty and obligation to Old Testament scripture, and out of devotion to an institution (FBC Jax). Mac does not try to motivate people out of their love for Jesus. Why? I don't know. Perhaps Homer understood that the greatness of the church was in its people loving Christ and responding out of love, whereas Mac and Smyrl believe success is gained through legalism, through man's ideas and actions, and a well-structured "cutting edge" program like Theology Driven Ministry. Homer trusted his uneducated leaders to preach the Bible in Sunday School.
I have more to say about some of Mac's antics on Sunday, how we knew Homer was a God-called preacher, and a few other insights as well as some audio clips of Homer and Brunson. If you have thoughts you'd like to share about the sermon Sunday, or about Homer Lindsay Jr. or Sr. that you might have thought of after Mac preached about our church history, chime in here!