“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42: 3).
When I attended Bible College, one of the things I had to do in order to graduate was intern under a pastor of a pentecostal church for a summer. What an experience that was! I ended up in the deep south of Alabama in a pentecostal church that could be better described as a holiness pentecostal church. I experienced some pretty crazy things… things I thought were only in movies or Flannery O’Connor stories.
The pastor there was a screamer. I mean… he screamed at the top of his lungs for an hour perspiring, panting, pacing, pointing, and pontificating. It was exhausting for everyone.
And then there was that visiting evangelist who also screamed. But he had an organ player who would slam a chord or two on his Hammond to emphasize the evangelist’s message at just the right moments. That was exhausting AND entertaining.
The thing is… and this is human behavior… the people expected this and loved this. It was a sign that it was anointed. That it was from God. That it was real genuine gospel. That the Holy Spirit was “on it”. That you better get saved or you’re going to Hell.
And then we think of the stories of Jesus that reveal his preaching style as quite different.