THE DEATH of THE PREACHER by James Smith I am sorry to be the one to have to report that preparations are underway for the funeral of an American mainstay: the Preacher. In the event of his death, there will be no open casket or time of visitation, for most of his friends would not want to be seen as such in a spirtitual climate such as we have today in America. For those who are unfamiliar with the preacher, his story can be found in virtually every chapter of American history. You could find him in the first colony that landed on Plymouth Rock and you could find him shaking the windows of Philadelphia before, during and after the American Revolution. The preacher was active on both sides of the War Between the States. D.L Moody served as a missionary on the front, finding out if dying men were saved before they perished. And in the South, the preachers would hold impromptu baptism services whenever they could, sometimes even in the midst of battle and in full view of the enemy. At the turn of the century we had the Pentecostals preaching harder than just about any group who had come before them and Billy Sunday thundered for prohibition and the dangers of alcohol to a nation that was drunken with its own excess. America heard the voices of A.W. Tozer and Paris Reidhead preach a true Prophetic call. We heard the voice of Allen, Branham and Coe, Roberts and W.V. Grant Sr. tell us that God was still a healer, still a deliverer and still a savior. America heard Davy Wilkerson tell of the trauma in our inner cities and of the dangers coming if we could not repent. We heard Shambach take up the torch of faith when all of the old voices had fallen silent. We heard Lester Sumrall and we were awed at the reality of the power of God if we could just believe. We heard Jimmy Swaggart and in his voice we heard the end of an era, though we did not know it at the time. Today in America the voice of the preacher has fallen silent. And I am grieved to carry to your itching ears the somber news that the voice that we need to hear now more than ever, may never be heard from again. The preacher, that icon of American religion, the last of a species from a long and noble line, has been on an unpublished endangered species for decades. And here at the turning of the tide, at that moment when it would seem that we need him the most, his absence leaves a hole that can be felt only by the discerning heart that longs after God. For in these days of the soft Prophet, the teacher, the encourager and the snake-oil salesman, the voice that calls you to awaken from your positivity-induced slumber is not welcome. Who wants to hear someone yell for an hour, they say. Who in their right mind wants a return to the days of fire and brimstone when men spoke for God and called the comfortable to repentance and the lukewarm to task? Who would want a return to those days when the church sought those who were lost, called the prodigal home and searched the hearts of the un-consecrated in the sheepfold? We eagerly await the news, it seems, that the voice of the preacher has fallen silent for good. That the one who troubled us is gone and his like shall not be seen again anymore. But the annals of history shall reveal I fear, the terrible truth: that should we chose to let the preacher die - we choose to let the hopes of revival and indeed, the salvation of our nation die as well. And choose it is, have no doubt about that. We choose when we do not pray for those standing between the living and the dead, calling for reinforcements in the battle of the ages. We choose when we withhold support, we choose when we do not attend meetings, we choose when we do not invite them to our churches and communities. We choose, all of us. And that choice is to leave this nation in the spiritual hands of the mealy-mouthed purveyors of the humanistic Gospel. It is to abandon the morals of our nation to the oversight of those who will not offend the masses - so long as they continue to give. To choose wrong now will set the course of this nation in the future towards a port we do not wish to disembark at. And the choice is yours, now. Choose well, church, choose well.