I thought that might get your attention.Â Hitler still fascinates, doesn’t he?Â I got on a Hitler kick several years ago that motivated me to read four or five books about him and the Third Reich.Â I think you might be relieved to know that the desire has not returned.Â I wanted to know how he ever persuaded the German people to listen to him.Â One reason was that Hitler was an amazing speaker.Â He certainly could hold an audience, keep their rapt attention for awhile.Â You know it wasn’t his dashing good looks.Â Yet, I could see how amazing it could have been to have heard such a voice and vocabulary escape the lips of someone so diminuitive and odd.
Hitler moved people who were already primed for someone with unflinching conviction and hope, who knew how to prey on widespread bitterness, resentment, and nationalism.Â He knew what buttons to push and when.Â I think the Antichrist will have Hitleresque qualities.Â Unfortunately, so do many preachers.Â What am I talking about?Â They know that speaking style and word choice sway people, so they do it.
In 21st century America, Hitler’s act doesn’t make it.Â I’m not saying that there are not places in the U.S. or in other parts of the world where someone like Hitler couldn’t find his niche.Â Certain third world countries either have or are looking for their own little Hitler.Â However, that does not mean that we don’t have men that have taken the general principles and twiqued them to fit the contemporary audience.
I’ve known for awhile that speech is powerful.Â We can have an incredible impact on people with the words we use and how we use them.Â And this is mein kampf.Â Yes, my struggle.Â I know it isn’t the right way.Â We should be as good as we can be with our language and syntax.Â However, we have to be very careful, because our goal cannot be to addict people to a speaking style or a personality.
We have to talk in a way that will help people continue participating in linear thought.Â We must limit ourselves by our material, the Bible.Â We want people to love the Bible, not us.Â I think I’m good at telling stories.Â I think I’m funny.Â I think I could just entertain people every week.Â But I can’t.Â Paul makes this point in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
That passage alone has restrained me from using many of the techniques I have had available toÂ use on anÂ audience.Â One of my responsibilities is to draw attention away from me and toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God.Â Like John the Baptist said in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
My struggle, you see,Â is with my desire to increase.Â Yes.Â I know our church could be bigger if I cut loose, so to speak.Â Well, I would also have to loosen up our doctrine and practice, but to be completely honest, I know that with a larger church comes more fame, and finally, more money.Â If I have more money, I have more things.Â From that, I’m even more popular than I was with the fame from the speaking.Â With more money, more presents for other people and, therefore, more adoration.Â I think you get the drift.
Some pastors are very good speakers, but I don’t think they are very good preachers.Â They are also not very good pastors.Â A good pastor that is a good preacher will elevate the Word of God, not himself, and will fill the minds of those with whom he comes in contactÂ with its Words and Truths.Â He will fill himself up first and then those WordsÂ will alwaysÂ come spillingÂ out of his mouth.Â Not everyone will like that, because it requires thinking.Â People will have to sacrifice some to get the Words and their meaning, sort of like getting manna like the hoar frost (Ex. 16:14)Â off the ground, but they will receive them if they want them.Â And when they are done with their struggle, they will say like David, “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” (Ps. 119:140).Â Not exactly Hitler, is it?