urlDo Preachers protect their congregations from the hard sayings of the Bible while trying to convince those same congregations that all of Scripture is the “Word of God”?

If you read my review of Mark Roncace’s book Raw Revelation: The Bible They Never Tell You About you would have seen this quotation (from pg. 4):

“The raw Bible is just too hard to swallow, or at least that is what preachers think. So they cook the Good Book. They butter it up and water it down to suite our tastes. They distill the Scripture, filtering out the unsightly and unpalatable passages. Just as processed and packaged foods are barely reminiscent of what first comes out of the ground or from the animal (think mac and cheese or hot dogs), so too the clean, attractive Bible that they present in church is a far cry from the real thing. Like parents who don’t feed their children peas and carrots because they fear the kids won’t like the vegetables, or worse, won’t like mom and dad, so too preachers give us, the children of God, a candy and cookie Scripture because they want us to be happy and them to be liked. Consequently, we aren’t properly nourished.”

In his book Roncace lambastes Preachers of all stripes (pg. 5): “…fundamentalists, evangelicals, Pentecostals, main stream moderates, left wing liberals, emergent church pastors, prosperity preachers, mega-church celebrities, mini-church part-timers, and the list goes on and one.” He says that these Preachers know about the problematic passages of Scripture, but refuse to preach them.

I have been in circles where this is not true. I have heard Preachers proclaim troublesome texts with boldness and without shame. Roncace’s observation is true in general though. He uses a very good example citing how many people quote Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'” Yet most Preachers won’t apply Ezekiel 5:8 the same way: “Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations.”

For Preachers who choose their texts, who do not follow a guided Lectionary, should there be more attention given to the uncomfortable texts of the Bible on Sunday? Should passages about genocide, rape, abuse, or the invasion of foreign armies be proclaimed as often as the more pleasant passages, or at least as often?