That's not what a herald is, folks. A herald goes forth from the King, bearing the King's message, and he gives it to ALL the King's subjects. He doesn't put out a sign, "Come hear the King's message. Once a week, for 30 minutes. Only inside this building. You know, if you want to," and then wait for the King's rebellious subjects to come to him.
There's a name for someone who lectures to a small subset of the King's subjects over and over again at a set time and place, but it's not a "herald".
I must admit that it is hard to see friends and acquaintances post and repost notifications about "Herald" Society get-togethers as if these were beneficial to the kingdom of God. I truly believe that there is a lot more bad than good about such things. Most of the reason why I think this centers around the hypocrisy that is more than evident in so many of the dealings of these men.
Take the "H"S meeting currently underway in Milton, FL as an example. As part of the buildup leading to this event, Tony Miano among others have put out some material encouraging people to attend. As this remains a topic of interest to me, I have followed some of that material, partly to see whether the "H"S has learned from previous errors which I have personally documented. To be more specific, the errors center around such things as
- forming a parachurch ministry, all the while decrying parachurch ministries.
- using the word "Herald" in the title of the society, all the while intentionally not doing the things that heralds do.
- using the word "Herald" in the title of the society and saying stuff like "No king but Christ", all the while putting obstacles in the way of those who desire to obey the Great Commission (like women for example) and doing all they can to force potential actual heralds to get permission from someone who acts like a king in demanding that people submit to his own rule before the herald obeys the actual King.
- teaching the sufficiency of Scripture, all the while imposing extrabiblical traditions on others, such as "the call to preach", requiring that men "be called" before they are permitted to engage in open-air preaching (OAP).
- trumpeting the importance of the local church, all the while actually negating its importance (see more on that below).
- calling people to waste time and money that could have been put to use in their own localities, and in exchange giving them something (a series of lectures) that could easily have been communicated by an iTunes podcast.
- teaching Calvinist (and frequently cessationist) doctrine, all the while pushing a view of sanctification that I can only describe as charismatic Wesleyan, in that the "call to preach" maps quite well onto the "second blessing" that in other circles might be thought of as the "baptism of the Holy Spirit".
All of this is hypocrisy, but let's focus on that last item for a moment. The funny thing about it is that in charismatic theology, this "second blessing", this "baptism in the Holy Spirit", is usually pretty objectively verifiable - does the allegedly secondly-blessed person speak in tongues? If yes, they figure that the person has been baptised in the Holy Spirit.
And even leaving aside the fact that such a thing as the "call to preach" is not Scriptural, like at all, how do you figure out whether someone has received that particular second blessing? I keep asking the question. The most common answer would seem to be something like "the elders of your church tell you".
Which leads me to a video hyping the "H"S that Tony Miano put out, in which he reiterates some of the things he and Jeff Rose discussed in a recent podcast and in which he expresses more of this typical "H"S hypocrisy. Note that:
- attendees will listen to lectures for 20 hours, in 3 days. That's almost 7 hours of lecture per day, all in the name of "equipping". (As if anyone can remember a significant % of that amount of lecturing.)
- we should not expect a "caste system". And yet:
--speakers speak from an elevated stage, from a thing called a "pulpit".
--the centerpiece of the event is listening to these exalted figures.
--the main attraction is the names they were able to attract to speak - James White, Earl Blackburn, etc.
--there will be those who are "called to OAP" and those who aren't.
--anyone can listen to lectures but only the "called" few get to put it into practice in the primary way that Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles did.
- Miano says that "speakers will speak of their love for the church, love for the bride of Christ, and love for reaching the lost with the Gospel". And I guess they'll demonstrate that by not modeling how the bride of Christ ought to be living, by implying very strongly that the mission of the church is to sit down, shaddup, and listen to Great Men talk, and by not even trying to reach the lost with the Gospel, because...
- there won't be any organised outreach to the lost during the entire duration of the "H"S meeting.
Miano says, "don't expect a pep rally for OAP. Don't expect a lot of time on the streets. We want to focus on teaching, prayer, worship, the edification of pastors and their churches, and encouraging the bride of Christ to lift up the Gospel."
So they're going to do that by not spending time on the streets, and by not proclaiming the Gospel, and by staying behind the walls of a church building, in a different city, just like most everyone does when they're at their own church. By not heralding.
And then when, at the 6-minute mark of the video, Miano exhorts his listeners that "it is time for Christians to get out of the Christian bubble", the irony is intolerable.
- the excuse given for not modeling or training in OAP is because "that's the responsibility of the local church."
--But teaching theology isn't?
--People can't sit in pews at their own churches?
--Wouldn't it be better to spend the time that attendees spent traveling and pew-sitting at the "H"S in deepening relationships at the attendees' own local churches?
Wouldn't it also be better to put the traveling and lodging money the attendees used for the "H"S event to use at their own local church? Isn't the "H"S actually working opposite to its stated desires?
--It's not the responsibility of each local church to teach about the Bible and talk about love for the church, bride of Christ, and reaching the lost with the Gospel?
--It never occurs to the "H"S organisers that most pastors wouldn't have any idea how to train anyone in evangelism, let alone OAP?
--Or that saying "only called people should OAP" gives a convenient out to anyone who has ulterior motives in not challenging fear or incurring the anger, slander, and scorn of worldly people?
It seems like a far better name for the Herald Society would be the Pew-Sitter Society. They model during their meetings what they actually want Christians to be when they go back to their own communities and churches - pew-sitters until someone in a more elevated ecclesiastical position gives them permission to go love their neighbor and obey the King.