Genuine – honest to goodness – Christian preachers are those dedicated to teaching both the wonderful blessings of heaven and the hard realities on earth. They are attentive not only to the spiritual needs but also mindful of the social requirements of the people. They are not only preoccupied with the Words of God but also concerned with the plight of man. They are focused on the hereafter and beyond which are easy to teach, but not forgetful of the here and now which are hard to preach about.
True realistic and relevant Christian preachers are attentive to the relationship between God and man. But they are also preoccupied with the relationship between man and his neighbors. They infallibly address the meaning and implications of the love of God – which is delightful. But they do not altogether forget the mandate and consequences of loving neighbor – which is difficult. They preach about the glorious resurrection and ascension of Christ according to the providence of God. But the also point out His suffering and death in the hands of man.
In other words, true and valuable Christian preachers do not only speak about the easy Commandment of loving God but also about the trying Commandment of loving neighbor. These are respectively the vertical and horizontal dimensions of genuine and integral Christian faith. These form the Cross of Christ. Both verticalism and horizontalism destroy, violate, and deny the composite of the vertical pole (Love of God) plus the horizontal arm of the Cross of Christ (Love of neighbor).
All orthodox and sound ethical principles and moral norms are eventually anchored in two mandates: The significance and import of Divinity plus the nature and implications of humanity. One without the other is not only false but also dangerous. In fact, one without the other is a gross violation of the integrity of Christian doctrine – which in effect is a big disservice to society, to the rightful interests and proper concerns of humanity.
Not only spiritual and supernatural matters but also socio-economic factors as well as political realities are the concerns of genuine Christian preachers – subject to their respective nature and consequences. The truth is that the eternal is more important than the temporal. But this does not make the temporal something relevant. The reality is that the divine is infinitely more significant than the human. But this does not make the human something inconsequential. Honest to goodness Christian preachers know this distinction very well.
But then, to preach about truth, justice and peace, to proclaim what is constructive and destructive politics, to affirm good and denounce bad politicians – this is not only difficult but also inconvenient and even dangerous. Genuine Christian Preachers – where are you?