Authenticity is a buzz word today. As a pastor I read a lot of books about preaching, and church issues. I am constantly told to be authentic in my preaching. We want our churches to be authentic in their Christianity. I want to come across as real and honest when I preach, and when I am living my life amongst other people. I want to do more than appear to practice what I preach; I really want to do it. Transparency is another word that is often used to describe the approach a pastor should take to preaching. Allow people to see who you really are, that you have struggles just like everyone else.
As I was preparing my Sunday message last week I was thinking about some of these issues. I talked about the character of God. Something that I felt the Holy Spirit spoke into my spirit as I was praying before church has stuck with me. You never hear God described as transparent or authentic. Why? Because God is Holy! God also commands His people to be like Him. “Be Holy, because I am Holy” 1 Peter 1:16.
When I hear the word holiness I hear a word with two drastically different connotations. First I hear the many passages in the Bible that speak of God’s holiness. I often repeat those refrains in my prayers and in my worship. The second connotation is negative. I think of “holiness” churches. My own fellowship, the Assemblies of God, has roots in the holiness movements, but when I hear holiness as it pertains to man I too often think of self-righteous legalism. Self-righteousness is of course the opposite of holiness in many ways. It smacks of a lack of authenticity. (I’ll say more tomorrow.)