The Biblical Use of Emotional Appeals

Ephesians 4:1 KJV

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

 

Paul had said in Ephesians 3:1 that he was a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ “for you Gentiles”. Here he uses that as a motivation for both his plea and their doing of it.[1]

 

Appeals based on emotional and heart rending circumstances are often criticized in modern Christianity. It is, however, undeniable that:

  • They can be effective
  • They were used effectively by Christ and Apostle Paul
  • Therefore they may be used in a Scriptural, effective and ethical manner

[1] The argument can be made that the “therefore” of this refers the reader to the great doctrinal truths of Ephesians chapter three. I do not deny this to be the case but only add to it that Paul’s mention of being a prisoner at the beginning of chapters three and four must have “hit home” in the hearts of these first century believers to whom Paul originally addressed this letter. Therefore his being a prisoner must have relevance in his “therefore”.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

emotional appeals

Confrontational Preaching

Ephesians 3:1 KJV

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

 

There is a popular radio talk show host[1] who frequently refers to his audience as “you people”. I have always gotten the impression that it is a derogatory and demeaning phrase; at least in the sense that he uses it.

 

Paul used a similar phrase in the word, “you Gentiles”. He was in prison and it was for the Gentiles. He wanted them to sense the personal responsibility, the weight of effect of taking the Gospel outside of Israel and to them.

  • It had cost him politically
  • It had cost him in his career
  • It had cost him his reputation
  • It had cost him his own blood kinship

 

In obeying the Lord to take the gospel to the Gentiles, Paul had distanced himself (though not of his choosing but theirs) from the Jews, including those Jews who had accepted Christ as Saviour. Though they[2] knew what he preached was true, his preaching it placed a burr under their beast’s saddle. Paul made Christianity uncomfortable for them.

  • His outreach into the Gentile populace had exposed him to great danger and
  • His stand had placed him in the middle of a controversy between the unbelieving Jews and the Gentiles at Jerusalem.

This controversy would lead eventually to his execution.

 

But notice that Paul’s intent was not accusative. Paul was not angry at the Gentiles. Being confrontational[3] was not the same as being hateful or mean spirited. It was direct, intended toward conviction and the sort of personal responsibility that leads to action.

 

This, I would say, is the correct use of preaching:

  • Direct
  • Bold
  • Confrontational and
  • Purposeful

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

[1] I assume he is still popular, I haven’t heard his program in years but see reports with his name from time to time.

[2] The believing Jews

[3] “you Gentiles”

preaching