Losing Credibility . . . .

trust “Who” Is Speaking Matters


“Why is it that some people preach for an hour, and it seems like twenty minutes, and some preach twenty minutes and it seems like an hour?” — Haddon W. Robinson


There is an answer to that question and well-experienced reality!

While not all speakers, teachers, or preachers . . . .

  • will be as fluent and influential as Haddon Robinson
  • will ultimately be as effective as some who are recognized nationally
  • will be recognized nationally, though just as effective as those who are
  • will be able to effectively implement this-or-that rhetorical technique
  • are highly gifted as speakers, possessing and given cogent thinking patterns
  • have from the earliest of days an ability to be a remarkable communicator

. . . . all speakers, teachers, preachers can learn and can improve their skills and abilities to communicate more effectively.  It is that desire to improve, and the implementation of some of the various rhetorical techniques, which makes an hour seem like twenty minutes!


I can already anticipate the response to this discussion of the rhetorical concept of “Ethos.”   We are living in an age of “transparency.”   There is a regard for and a push toward being “transparent.”  Some speakers, teachers, and preachers see being “open and honest” as “a desired virtue” and even beneficial to one’s effectiveness.  Therefore, some will see “ethos” as putting up a false front, giving an impression of what one may not be true in reality.  Such goes the argument in favor of “transparency.”

In today’s culture, there has a willingness and even desire to open up the private AND secret areas of our lives to our listeners.  We all have a . . . .

#1) Secret Life:  Known only to us (thoughts and motivations in our minds).  Are there thoughts and motivations which you have entertained, and not shared with others, even your own spouse?

#2) Private Life: Known by those who live with or listen to us (family and/or business life).  Have you said to your children, what happens or is said at home stay at home?  What we do and say is not for public consumption.

#3) Public Life: Known by seeing or watching us (all can see if interested).  Have you been seen somewhere, or with someone, which you later realize that someone observed?  i.e. “I saw you at so-in-so store at the mall.  I was there yesterday, but their prices are so high.”

Today, there is a willingness to share the personal, private, along with the public — especially with the advent of social media.  At times, one may wonder if some really want to share – post – picture – re-post what they do.

That is why I well anticipate a varied response to this subject.  There will be those who think far differently than others when it comes to what we share of our secret and private lives.  The argument made by some is — “We need to be real to people.”

I would initially argue that however a speaker, teacher, or preacher responds to the concept of “ethos” it is still operating in each and every speaking situation.  Accept, reject —  like, dislike its operation, it will still roll alongside of or over you.


Ethos, is a classical rhetorical concept which speaks to credibility, or trustworthiness, and/or integrity.  Part of your leadership and persuasive ability revolves around that “ethos.”

If a speaker is lacking in “regard” by an audience, that speaker will find it difficult to listen, learn, laud, or love.  There are a number of different dynamics which feed into our credibility, such as . . . .


Honesty:  If a speaker gave a personal example or used an example involving another, and there was some sort of acceptance of dishonesty in that example, a typical audience will consider the speaker as one who is willing to be dishonest him/herself.

Ethical: If a speaker were to give a personal account of having found something of value, and left open the impression or actually confirmed that he kept it, making no attempt to find its rightful owner, that speaker would be regarded by most audiences as dishonest, or unethical.

Morality: If a speaker spoke lightly or loosely about some form of sexually immoral behavior, that speaker would be quickly dismissed by an audience which regarded sexual morality as important.

Kindness:  Actually being unkind to the host, a fellow speaker, a member of the audience,  or towards a person referred to in a personal example will create a negative response against the speaker.

Academically:  The slaughter of “The King’s English,” or the rules of grammar, or the facts and details of a well-known story or truth, will cause the audience to doubt the speaker’s intelligence or education.

Theologically:  There are certain theological positions which a speaker can hold and/or actually state, which are known or become known to an audience as the speaker proceeds, which will damage or destroy the speaker’s ethos.

Vocabulary:  There are words that a speaker can use which are offensive, vulgar, or inappropriate which have the potential of eating away at the speaker’s regard by the audience.

Speaking Ability:  The speaker’s actual rhetorical ability, stage presence, creative-interesting-insightful ways of building a speech, and/or eye contact can add to a speaker’s credibility.

Appearance:  The first impression given to audience by one’s choice of attire, general personal appearance, or other trappings, affects an audience’s response.  There is a reason that financial planners or real estate agents drive expensive cars (i.e. trappings).  It communicates a sense of confidence.

There are other currents which operate and interact with all of these “ethical dynamics.”  For instance, being shabbily dressed in some situations could actually increase one’s ethos.

I was reminded of this as I was listening to a well-known and very effective preacher.  I can only assume that he fails to grasp the implications of what he is saying, and the thoughts which may well go through the minds of his listeners.  Perhaps, he is reflecting the new mentality about being “transparent.”

(link @ 14:39)

Satan has an agenda for life it is to destroy us.
How does he seek to accomplish that?
It is through “metha-doia” [sic wiles or strategies]
What is that?
The idea of “metha-doia” –  Listen to me fellowship!
It is the idea of customized, tailor-made strategies.
Satan is not omniscient but Satan has learned by a process of trial and error — what we like and don’t — and dislike.
And he uses that knowledge to craft “metha-doia.”
— customize strategies to bring about your destruction.
For example, I’m not homophobic at all but a Satan wanted to destroy me he knows that he could not use a man to seduce me.


That just ain’t my thing 
but Lord knows if Halle Berry came along I need to be prayed up.*


he knows our weaknesses

he knows our proclivities

he knows us

he knows what you like

he knows what makes your knees weak.
and he seeks to employ those “metha-doia” — in an attempt, friends to bring about your destruction.
Let me say it another way  — Satan’s attacks on your life

are not random
they’re not haphazard
they’re not a roll of the dice and let’s see if this works.


He knows what we like 
and he seeks to exploit that by “metha-doia”

— Bryan Loritts – Ephesians 6


As I was listening to Bryan Loritts I wondered if he intended to send the message which he was indirectly communicating.  When he says . . . .

That just ain’t my thing 
but Lord knows if Halle Berry came along I need to be prayed up.

he knows our weaknesses

he knows our proclivities

he knows us

he knows what you like

he knows what makes your knees weak.


. . . . he implies a message concerning sexual morality, his sexual thought life.  Now if that is what one wants to communicate, and if one believes that being open about lust and temptation with an audience enhances one’s effectiveness, then I understand what is being done.

However, let me assure you that there is only one person Who can handle the transparent truth about our secret and private lives, without it affecting their relationship with us and that is God.  It surely is not our fellow man.  Loritts’ comments, though given rhetorical grace, have the strong possibility of leaving a negative impression about him as a person.

I would be very reluctant to imply that Halle Berry can excite my lust and that I need to be prayed up to resist.  Whether or not all men have battled with “lust,” to specifically bring it up personally, and then to publicly identify an actual movie star which has the potential to excite you sexually, may be damaging – just saying.

Then, even though he uses the word “our” — “us” — “you,” Bryan goes on to clearly imply that such is a weakness, proclivity, known by Satan as a “like,” and what could make “his” knees weak.

The implied message is even stronger because he contrasts this with not being tempted by homosexuality.

Let’s pray that he is always prayed up!

Yes, that may well be the unintended results of such words — ??



* P.S. — I would stay away from this statement if for no other reason than my love of my wife and my sincere sensitivity for her feelings in hearing such a comment!

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