Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at

Please allow me to allow my Brown Nose Gorilla to begin this column with a word for me.

“You’re a genius!”

My Brown Nose Gorilla was given to me as a gift by an employee of the store I owned and operated for ten years. I have had him for more than twenty years now, and, amazingly, he and his battery still work perfectly.


That was his next word for me since I just squeezed his paw once again. I appreciate that; I enjoy being outstanding.

“Excellent thinking!”

Another squeeze of his paw, and low and behold, another uplifting comment directed to me. And who, I ask, could possibly be more worthy of such praise?

“You’re brilliant!”

Of course I am. I already knew that, I suppose, but it certainly feels good to hear it.

“Great idea!”

I have no idea if he is referring to my decision to squeeze his paw yet again or my decision to write this column. Either way, I am convinced that he is right.

“That’s fabulous!”

Of course it is. Do you think I would do something “not fabulous?”


Now that is what I want to hear. I am not just right, I am “exactly” right.

“That’s awesome!”

My Brown Nose Gorilla seems to have no limit to the positive things he wants to say about me.

“You’re a genius.”

Okay, so now he is repeating himself. But, since I like everything he is saying, I do not mind having him repeat himself. I could listen to this all day, and I would even invite all of my friends to hear it, too.

There is, in fact, a point to all of this. What say we discuss church just for a moment…

I have this sneaking hunch that many of the greatest preachers found in Scripture would be wholly unwelcome in the pulpits of many churches today. The prophets and apostles and Christ himself did not seem to realize that all of their messages were supposed to be positive and encouraging and uplifting.

Jesus preached scathing messages on hell, told people “sin no more,” called Herod a fox (meaning destructive vermin), referred to certain others as dogs, called people liars and hypocrites, told some people that they were children of the devil, called others the children of hell, and twice said, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” John the Baptist referred to people as vipers, poisonous snakes. Stephen preached one message and got the crowd so angry that they stoned him to death, Paul wrote the entire book of 1 Corinthians in order to chew them out for one bit of bad behavior on their part after another, and in 1 Corinthians 4:21, he asked them whether they wanted him to show up in love or with a rod (to discipline them with). Jude called people ungodly four times in just one verse. 2 Peter 2 is 22 straight verses of Peter calling people very negative names and accusing them of horrible behavior.

And do not even get me started on the ministries and messages of such gun-barrel straight preachers as Elijah and Elisha and Isaiah and Jeremiah.

Were any of those men candidates for the pastorate of a modern church, they would very likely lose out to a Brown Nose Gorilla preacher with a Colgate smile and a consistently positive message. But in order to be consistently positive, a preacher must entirely ignore wide swaths of Scripture and the ministry of the authors who wrote it.

A Brown Nose Gorilla preacher will always be immensely popular to the lost and the carnal; but a real preacher will preach the truth whether it fills up a room or clears out a room, knowing that he will stand before God and answer for whether or not he preached the whole counsel of God.

My gorilla has never one time told me anything that made me feel like I needed to go to an altar and repent. My gorilla would make a horrible, horrible pastor.

Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at, and his books are available by clicking the “Store” link above.