The passage in my Bible reading today prompted this warning: “Beware of the ‘bully pulpit!’” Now I’m very aware of the related adage: “The power of the bully pulpit!’” The fact is, both are true! People can be moved deeply and influenced powerfully by a persuasive, emotional act of polished oratory. They can be moved so profoundly that they will overlook the hypocritical character of the speech giver and ignore flaws in his/her logic. At no time of the year is this more evident than during an election cycle. Often the sad fact is, what does a political speech have to do with reality? Answer? Very often NOTHING!!! There is a word that could be used to describe it…. “Palaver!” Lies and empty promises wrapped in entertaining rhetoric!
Christians need to especially careful! I read an account in the Bible this morning that illustrates the power of the “bully pulpit” AND the risks… The Bible records…
“On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last… But the word of God increased and multiplied!” (Acts 12:21–24 ESV)
Harod’s speech was powerful! It was what the crowd wanted to hear! It fed his exalted ego! But God was not pleased with it – and God held this secular leader accountable for it!
On the other hand, those who preached the truth… Those who proclaimed the gospel of Christ were being persecuted… God judged the one message severely, the other He honored! “But the word of God increased and multiplied!” Believe me when I say, I know which message I’m going to believe and put stock in!