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Junior Hill cites stats, gives counsel for addressing ‘itching-ear generation’

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Evangelist Junior Hill decided to do his own math, prompted by a study two years ago that found more than 10,000 Southern Baptist Convention churches had not baptized a single person.

He calculated that with just over 40,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, roughly the equivalent of one out of every four churches spent a whole year doing the following, and nobody was saved:

— If their pastors preached Sunday morning and Sunday nights, then that year they preached 1,040,000 sermons.

— If those churches sang four songs in the morning and four songs at night, then they will have sang 4,160,000 songs.

— If they received $300 a Sunday (a very generous estimate, he said), then those churches’ offerings that year were $156,000,000.

Despite all these efforts, he said, nobody was saved.

Addressing the ineffectiveness of some of today’s ministries, Hill told students and faculty at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary during its Oct. 24-26 campus revival that their responsibility is to stand up and proclaim faithfully the truths of the Word of God.

He recognized how difficult the task is, especially in light of the “itching ear generation” that the apostle Paul wrote about in the second book of Timothy. “The time has come when men will not approve sound doctrine,” the evangelist read from Scripture. “Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

“We are seeing before our very eyes an itching ear generation,” Hill said. One attribute of “itching ear churches” is that they are dominated by grace without guilt. He explained, “A grace without guilt will eventually cause you to have a salvation without any joy. If you don’t know what you have been forgiven of and you don’t know from whence you have come, you don’t have much to shout about in this generation.

“The reason the shout has left many of our Baptist churches is that we have a congregation of men and women who have done nothing more than cultural reforms and have sociological blemishes removed and they have never seen the guilt of unbelief and the devastation of wicked sin.”

Hill said ministers should preach the Bible with the same three instructions that Paul gave to Timothy: reprove, which means “to censure, to tell a fault, to point an error;” rebuke, or “point out error with point of correcting the error;” and exhort, or “condemn and correct, but to do that with great comfort” instead of catering to today’s society which is based on a market-driven ministry philosophy.

Hill quoted author-pastor John MacArthur concerning this prevalent philosophy: “Promise such people a religion that will allow them to be comfortable in their materialism and self-love, and they will respond in droves. When people will not tolerate the truth, that’s when courageous, outspoken preachers are most desperately needed to speak.”

Nonetheless, there must be a balance between condemnation and comfort, Hill said. “If you have all condemnation and censure, it produces legalism and wickedness. But if you have all comfort, it produces half-heartedness and slothfulness that has no commitment to God.”

Concerned about the absence of old-time Holy Ghost conviction that drew people into knowledge of their sin and made them hunger and thirst after God, Hill stated that “old-fashioned Bible conviction has evaporated from many of our churches. If nobody ever tells a man that he is a guilty sinner before God, it’s not likely that he will ever feel convicted about his sin, and he has a confession void of conviction.”

Hill also noted there is response without repentance. “If a man is never confronted with the fact that he is a sinner before God, it is not likely that he will ever be guilty of his sin. And if he is never guilty of his sin, it is unlikely that he will ever repent of his sin.” Hill reminded, “The Bible says that unless you repent, you should all likewise perish.”

Furthermore, “when you preach the gospel, don’t ever be sly or hesitant about preaching about the need for Bible-repentance, because a man cannot be saved apart from genuine godly repentance. And he will never know the repentance of God unless he knows the guilt that made that repentance necessary.”

Hill also lamented the fact that there is identification without transformation, explaining that is what is wrong with a sizeable number of Southern Baptist churches.

Unless a man is reminded that he is a sinner before God and has in fact repented of that sin and placed his trust in Jesus, then the inevitable fact is that he will make an identification without transformation in his life.

“We have a multitude of [people] who lie, steal, commit adultery, … who live in the gutters of unbelief and pride themselves of the identification but they have never had a transformation,” Hill said. “And they never will unless some godly Holy Ghost-anointed preacher like you will have enough courage to stand up and say that Jesus Christ changes sinners and makes them into new creations.”

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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