Friday, December 26, 2008

Book review - Pulpit Crimes

Pulpit Crimes is by James White and is an excellent book. I found it a little hard to get started - the reading level seems fairly high and took me a while to adjust. After that the book flowed easily, as Dr. White uncovered one pulpit crime after another.

He doesn't name names in the book so that the book will be relevant to later generations, but I was able to pick out any number of "blab it and grab it" preachers, plus Rick Warren, Benny Hinn, and Harold Camping.

Dr. White tells it like it is and his book will warm the heart of anyone seeing the violence done to the Word of God each week in so many churches. I was gratified to not see these crimes being committed in my church.

After some introductory chapters, he get into the meat of the matter. The chapter titles are provocative:
Pandering to Pluralism
Cowardice under Fire
Entertainment with a License
Felonious Eisegesis
Cross Dressing
Body Count
Identity Theft
Warranty Fraud

As Dr. White rightly points out, if people just stuck to the Bible and what it says, most of these crimes would never happen.

And what can we do as laity? Two things - attend church regularly to come together with other believers, and not put so much on the pastor. If a job can be done by someone else, let that other person do it. Pastors and elders get stretched too thin when they are asked to be all things to the congregation. Congregates need to do their part too.

I only disagreed on a couple of points, such as having to dress up to be properly prepared to come into the presence of God. We don't dress up before coming into God's presence at bedtime prayers, do we? If someone wants to dress up, fine. But I don't feel it is necessary. But on the whole my issues were minor and more a matter of preference than Biblical disagreement.

I would recommend this book to both pastors/elders and laity. Pastors and elders to make sure they are not falling into these traps (and encourage them if they are not), and laity to get a clearer picture of what they should be looking for in a church and what the role of pastor/elder is really about.

I liked this book a lot and may read other books by Dr. White.

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