This morning we awoke to the news of the passing of Dr. Myles Munroe, arguably the most well-known export in modern Christian Preaching and Motivation from Nassau Bahamas. Our hearts are touched by this occasion of his passing and we remain prayerful for his family, friends, and ministry at this time. Yet some have asked for my opinion on some of the late Dr. Myles Munroe’s teachings, I thought it proper to attempt a candid tribute.
I first heard Myles Munroe some 27 years ago in the USA on a tape and was pleasantly taken with the brilliance of his mind, his unique sequencing of thought construct, and his natural grit if not aptitude for argumentative critical reasoning. Since then I have acquired some of his materials and became more exposed to his prism of a Christian Message, the same he consummated in a kingdom description.
He struck me as a gifted individual with a classical philosophical mind to his credit he has coined many sayings that the Christian Church even beyond have embraced as ‘gospel’. A prolific writer and author of many books that straddle Christian Teachings, Motivational / Inspirational (self- help tools) and Leadership plateaus. Needless to say, some of these sayings are profound. My earliest one I remember which perhaps has become legendary in some circles is “where purpose is not known abuse is inevitable.”
Through the years, I never became a disciple but stayed in touch with this fresh voice of the man from Nassau. I liked him too I must admit because he was a man of darker melanin confirming that there is nothing wrong for a man of African origin raised in poverty and squalor given no chance by even his own Saxon teachers to rise against the odds to conquer the world of Leadership – Instruction controlled by Anglo-Saxon minds and materials. There was another reason I liked Munroe, he had no American accent and was not another American, because we in South Africa are so obsessed with that twang of our brothers across the Atlantic divide. Hence, it was nice to hear a prominent mind with a more African accent, gruff and a less Americanised -sanitised touch.
Yet I must admit doctrinal differences were evident for a long while. The early years of Munroe’s teachings appeared sanguine to what was embraced as a given on the fundamentals of the Christian Faith. Whilst one may not be able to exactly or categorically attempt pin-pointing the diversion, it can be assume that as time progressed and plausibly the pressure of standing invitations across nations and audiences mounted mixed with diverse constituencies to satisfy who all wanted a piece of the Myles touch, increasingly his teachings began to be scrutinised by some as questionable for its doctrinal efficacy.
Perhaps the last 7- 8 years of Munroe’s teachings the chasms began to be visible thus raising many eyebrows particularly on the subject of the centrality of Christ for the Christian Preaching and the message of the Christian Faith. I am one of those who could not cud on this overemphasizing of the kingdom message in replacement of Christ. He became less palatable for some who equally struggled to embrace this emphasis at the expense of what has been the Christian didache for ages. It is here that the words and caution of the German Theologian Joachim Jeremias again rings true ‘ the church must always believe what it always believed”.
More and more Munroe began to say things along the vein of ‘people don’t want to hear about the Cross of Jesus the gory death of the Cross, they want answers for the problems they face in their boardrooms, and in their lives’. He courted with controversial subject matters ‘ the main reason Jesus came to the earth was not the Cross”. he went further to say “the good news is not Calvary neither is the Resurrection of Jesus”. For Munroe the “good news is about a kingdom”. Along with his ardent claim that on Calvary “Jesus did not die, he gave the ghost”. It is common knowledge that Dr. Myles Munroe’s teachings emphasized the Kingdom as the true message; he dared to contend Christians should preach what Christ preached, when the premise is Christ Jesus as the centre of Christian Preaching.
Therefore, I enjoyed the brilliant mind of Munroe but we did not agree on some cardinal issues particularly concerning what constitutes the centrality of Christian preaching.
I shall firstly advance perhaps a notion that it is incumbent upon all of us who ply our trades in the call of service and ministry as preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to desist the natural temptation of becoming ‘experts’ on subject or topics, for often this preoccupation may involuntarily set us up to veer persuaded by our quest. Often this blinds us in obsessiveness to produce more and more evidence of what is commonly called in the 21st Century circuit preaching ‘ new revelation’ for our postulations, rendering us more plausible to miss the target. We have seen in times past how those that became ‘experts’ on subject like faith have bordered on heretical teachings.
The second challenge that 21st Century preachers have particularly those in ‘high demand’, vacillates on the pressing need for a fresh ‘revelation’ seemingly expected from a following and paying crowd. This coupled with one’s personal prism on a subject matter may bring us in a proximity to stray. It is often reduced to what we call in economic terms demand and supply. Preachers in the hustle and bustle of meeting their own increasing needs somehow feel compelled to produce ‘new and dynamic teachings’ because that will give them an edge. Yet the message of the Cross remains a gory affair, it remains a stark reality of brutality, violence, abuse and betrayal, where God incarnated in Jesus Christ paid the ultimate penalty for our sins.
We cannot and dare not paint a different picture, Calvary was a bloody and messy affair by all standards, it is this reality of exemplified LOVE that must challenge anyone to a response and not a message on our success in the marketplace, or our mellifluous diverse careers laced by capitalism’s dictate. It is the undeserving LOVE of GOD that must force a response from the object of his LOVE that we must preach. If I may paraphrase the words of Bono, – Jesus Christ leaves you no options you must contend with HIM.
It is possible that Munroe hit proverbial inclement weather in his articulation of his convictions at least as heard by some who have been concerned with the drifting.
We therefore pause to celebrate the life and work of ministry of Dr. Myles Munroe, I have been touched by his ministry, yet I too enjoyed dining at his table from time to time not without eating the meat and leaving the bones. His work is done, he has influenced us all, and the world is richer for having known a Myles Munroe.
Now we pray for his family, friends, and ministry to be comforted in this trying time. Rest well, soldier you are an enigma and a brilliant gift. Where you missed it we know, it was not intentional but informed by your quest for all of humanity to do better.
Colleague I am looking forward to see you and meet at the Eastern Gate where we perhaps calmly and collectively will engage on the subject of what was the true message of Christian Preaching. Yes, we will engage devoid of Adam Smith’s capitalistic market driven need for the promotion of our diverse materials in which we compete for market share. Just a calm chat where others like the Apostle Paul will be present, but chief in attendance Christ Jesus the axis and the epicentre of our faith, the reason for our prognostication, the true message of all times.
For until then ‘we preach Christ and Him crucified,” “Christ the Door”, “Christ the Hope of our Glory”, “Christ the Bread of Life.” Until then we will preach of his death at the hands of Romans orchestrated by the religious Jews, yet it was our collective sin that nailed Him to the Cross. We preach repentance of sins as man’s gateway back to God through Christ. “For it pleased the Father to reconcile all men unto Himself through Christ, and that in Him, Jesus the fullness of the God-head should dwell”.
Yes Colleague we have always and will continue to preach unequivocally Jesus died on the Cross of Calvary and his death and resurrection are the two hinges of the proverbial door of our Christian faith, we dare not reduce these to off-side topics in demand of a kingdom message of obscurity, in which our dominance of market places is the fundamental premise.
Until then, good night servant of the Most High and thank you that you heeded your call to serve to the best of your human abilities.
Rest well; you went to the grave in your own words ‘empty’ because you lived full.
Your co-servant and fellow labourer in the Vineyard of HIM who exacted a call without our permission.
Bishop Clyde N.S. Ramalaine