“This tastes like the cow got into an onion patch”.
If you’ve watched Napoleon Dynamite more than a couple of times you know what that quote is from. Young Napoleon is taste testing milk for an FFA competition. If you’ve ever lived in a rural community and had milk from a cow you also know that onion-tasting milk is a legit thing.
Unless you like your milk with a nice oniony flavor, you don’t drink milk when the cow gets into an onion patch. It’s nauseating. Her milk is no longer fit for consumption.
Some preaching is like milk from a cow eating onions, it’s nauseating. That’s why Paul told young Timothy to “have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies”. If Timothy eats from that patch of grass then he’s going to feed his congregation the same worthless fodder that he is consuming.
Pastor, if you spend your time indulging in foolish and ignorant controversies your people will suffer. Do you really think that you can feed on hours of controversial articles, blog comments, theological debates, etc. and it not effect your preaching? It does. They can smell your onion breath.
What are foolish and ignorant controversies?
“Certainly,” you argue, “there are important issues that we are fighting about that are not foolish and ignorant controversies.” That’s tricky isn’t it? Wild onions often look like grass. You might not know that your cow is eating from an onion patch by looking from a distance. But you’ll know when you go to drink the milk.
Having a heart bent towards these foolish and ignorant controversies will cause you to preach the wrong point. Rather than using John 3:16 to exult in the love of God for undeserving sinners you’ll use it as ammunition against Calvinists. Or you’ll use Ephesians 1 to preach against non-Calvinists, instead of standing in awe of accomplishment of God in our salvation.
That’s a cow in an onion patch.
Pastors, I urge you to stop. Stop spending so much time eating from the onion patch of controversial blogs. Even if you are consuming these for the sole purpose of rolling your eyes at the crazies. Just stop.
Feast on that which edifies your own soul. That’s the test. If the books and articles you read cause you to burp onions, you know that you’ve spent your time foolishly. Likewise, if you are encouraged and emboldened in your love for Christ, you’ll likely feed your congregation wholesome milk.
Steer clear of the onion patch, your congregation is begging you.