I was ruminating the other night about the contents of a Daily Caller article I posted on my Facebook page concerning a black pastor, identified in the article as Charles Ewing, who gave the eulogy at the funeral of Ferguson, MO teenager Michael Brown, and Ewing’s rather pathetic attempt to eulogize Brown as someone whose life was not only practically sinless, but downright messianic.

The lengths to which Pastor Ewing (and others since the incident occurred) selectively, yet deliberately, leverage certain Bible verses in a desperate effort to paint a hallowed portrait of the life of Michael Brown is engaging in what I’ve termed the practice of Mr. Potato Head theology.

So, what exactly is “Mr. Potato Head” theology?

I’m glad you asked.

Mr. Potato Head theology is when a supposed minister of the Gospel (or anyone else for that matter) steps into a pulpit armed with his own personal agenda (the itself agenda serving as Mr. Potato Head) and, in an effort to legitimize that agenda, commences to misappropriate and take completely out of context certain Bible verses and use them in the same manner as one would a Mr. Potato Head body part.

However, instead of placing each body part (Bible verse) in its appropriate slot (context), the person attempts to force the ear into the slot for the nose or the leg into the slot for the arm or the nose into the slot that was made for the eye and so on.

In the end, you’ve managed to use the body parts, alright, but all in the wrong places, leaving a completely distorted and disfigured image of what Mr. Potato Head was originally designed to look like.

This kind of theological malpractice is but one example of what happens, particularly within black churches, when pastors are given the freedom and autonomy to twist the message of the Gospel in such a way as to say whatever will garner them an emotional response from their congregants. 

The reason Ewing, and other “pastors” like him, can get away with such egregious heresy is because far too many of those listening don’t know the Bible well enough for themselves to hold them accountable for what they preach and teach (see Acts 17:11.)

Add to that the extent to which the sin of racism has so clouded the Michael Brown incident, and it is even more difficult for the truth of the Gospel to penetrate the hearts of those who are exposed to what people like Ewing proffer (which is merely a cheap imitation of the Truth.)

Whether it be a funeral or a worship service, we Christians need to stop seeing ourselves simply as potted plants to be watered, especially when that water is tainted with the poison of theological and doctrinal falsehood.

Those who preach the Gospel of Christ must be held accountable by those who hear it, and not simply accept “preachers” who try to force-fit the Word of God in ways it was never meant.

There is no unity in willingly saying “Amen!” to error.

“…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
2 Timothy 4:2-4 (ESV) 

In Christ,

DBH

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Written by Darrell B. Harrison

Darrell Harrison is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He currently resides in Covington, Georgia (about 45 miles east of Atlanta). Darrell attends Rockdale Community Church, a Reformed Baptist congregation located in the Atlanta suburb of Conyers, Georgia. Darrell is a 2013 Fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute (BTLI) of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and is a 2015 graduate of the Theology and Ministry program at Princeton Theological Seminary. Darrell studied at the undergraduate level at Liberty University, where he majored in Psychology with a concentration in Christian Counseling. Darrell was the first African-American to be ordained as a Deacon in the 200-year history of First Baptist Church of Covington (Georgia) where he attended from 2009 to 2015. He is an ardent student of theology and apologetics, and enjoys reading theologians such as Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, and B.B. Warfield. Darrell is an advocate of expository teaching and preaching, and has a particular passion for seeing expository preaching become the standard within the Black Church.

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