Friday, March 23, 2007

The State of Preaching Today
... by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

This is one of my favorite articles by Dr. Mohler and it is on the important subject of the preaching of God's Word. He gives five sobering reasons as to why the Word is not being preached as it should be today. I heartily commend this powerful article to you. No matter how passionately I may disagree with him on the issue of genetics, I am still very thankful for Dr. Mohler, his ministry, his faithfulness to the veracity of the Scriptures, and his diligent commitment to the kingdom of God.

Grace and peace to you,
Steve
Psalm 19:7-11

"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. -2 Timothy 4:1-5



"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. . ."
With those famous words, Charles Dickens introduced his great novel A Tale of Two Cities. Of course, Dickens had the two cities of London and Paris in mind, and much of his story revealed that the tenor of the times depended upon where one lived.

In some sense, that remains true as we consider the state of preaching today. To a large degree, this depends upon where one chooses to look.

On the one hand, there are signs of great promise and encouragement. On the other hand, several ominous trends point toward dangerous directions for preaching in the future.

In surveying the current state of preaching, my primary concern is for preaching in the evangelical churches of North America. In these circles, preaching is generally considered to be an important part of worship and church life. Furthermore, it is generally understood to be the chief means of instructing the congregation in the Word of God and in presenting the claims of Christ. Even so, there appears to be little consensus about what preaching is to be in terms of shape, structure, substance, and subject matter. This confusion is readily seen when attending conferences on preaching or in listening to preachers talk about their own understanding of the task.

Signs of encouragement include a large number of younger evangelical pastors who are unabashedly committed to biblical exposition and represent a resurgence of genuine biblical exposition from the pulpits of churches situated in every part of the country, from the inner city to the suburbs and beyond. This new generation is proving once again that the effective and faithful exposition of the Word of God draws persons to Christ and leads to spiritual growth and to the health of the church. A generation of young ministers, along with others making their way through college and seminary education, may point toward a renaissance of biblical preaching in coming years.

On the other hand, several trends represent issues of genuine concern. In the main, the last few decades have been a period of wanton experimentation in many pulpits and preaching has often been redefined and reconceived as something other than the exposition and application of the biblical text.

1. A Loss of Confidence in the Power of the Word.
Contemporary Americans are surrounded by more words than any previous generation in human history. We are bombarded with words delivered to us in every conceivable form--sung, broadcast, electrified, printed, and spoken. Words have been digitalized, commercialized, and subjected to postmodern linguistic theories.

Taken together, all this amounts to a significant loss of confidence in the word as written and spoken. Several years ago, the photographer Richard Avedon declared that "images are fast replacing words as our primary language."

This certainly appears to be the case. In The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word, author Mitchell Stephens of New York University argues that "the image is replacing the word as the predominant means of mental transport."

Since preaching is itself a form of "mental transport," any loss of confidence in the word leads to a loss of confidence in preaching. Ultimately, preaching will cease to be Christian preaching if the preacher loses confidence in the authority of the Bible as the Word of God and in the power of the spoken word to communicate the saving and transforming message of the Bible. The preacher must stand up and speak with confidence, declaring the Word of God to a congregation that is bombarded with hundreds of thousands of words each week, many of them delivered with a soundtrack or moving images. The audacious claim of Christian preaching is that the faithful declaration of the Word of God, spoken through the preacher's voice, is even more powerful than anything music or image can deliver.

2. An Infatuation With Technology
Jacques Ellul was truly prophetic when he pointed to the rise of technology and technique as one of the greatest challenges to Christian faithfulness in our times. We live in a day of technological hubris and the ubiquity of technological assistance. We are engaged in few tasks, physical or mental, which are now unassisted by some form of technology.

For most of us, the use of these technologies comes with little attentiveness to how the technology reshapes the task and the experience. The same is true for preachers who have rushed to incorporate visual technology and media in the preaching event.

The effort is no doubt well intended, driven by a missiological concern to reach persons whose primary form of "mental transport" has become visual. Thus, preachers use clips from films, dynamic graphics, and other eye-catching technologies to gain and hold the congregation's attention.

The danger of this approach is seen in the fact that the visual very quickly overcomes the verbal. Beyond this, the visual is often directed towards a very narrow slice of human experience, particularly focused on the affective and emotional aspects of our perception. Movies move us by the skillful manipulation of emotion, driven by soundtrack and manipulated by skillful directing techniques.

This is exactly where the preacher must not go. The power of the Word of God, spoken through the human voice, is seen in the Bible's unique power to penetrate all dimensions of the human personality. As God made clear, even in the Ten Commandments, He has chosen to be heard and not seen. The use of visual technologies threatens to confuse this basic fact of biblical faith.

3. An Embarrassment Before the Biblical Text
Through the experience of hearing innumerable sermons from evangelical preachers, I note the tendency of some to appear rather embarrassed before the biblical text. The persistent attacks upon biblical authority and the sensitivities of our times have taken a toll on the preacher's confidence in the actual text of the Bible.

On the theological left, the answer is quite simple--just discard the text and write it off as patriarchal, oppressive, and completely unacceptable in light of an updated concept of God.

Among evangelicals, we can be thankful that fewer preachers are willing to dismiss or discard the text as sub-biblical or warped by ancient prejudices. Instead, many of these preachers simply disregard and ignore vast sections of Scripture, focusing instead on texts that are more comfortable, palatable, and nonconfrontational to the modern mind. This is a form of pastoral neglect and malpractice, corrected only by a comprehensive embrace of the Bible--all of it--as the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. All of it is for our good.

4. An Evacuation of Biblical Content
The last point was concerned with passages of Scripture that are never preached--but what about the texts that are preached? Are today's preachers actually studying for the content of the passage? In far too many cases, it seems that the text becomes a point of departure for some message--no doubt well intended--which the pastor wishes to share with the congregation. Beyond this, the text of Scripture is often evacuated of biblical content when, regardless of a passage's textual form or context, the content is uniformly presented as a set of pithy "points" that come together in a staple outline form.

Every text does have a point, of course. The preacher's main concern should be to communicate that central truth, and design the sermon to serve that overarching purpose. Furthermore, the content of the passage is to be applied to life--but application must be determined by exposition, not vice versa.

Another problem that leads to an evacuation of biblical content is a loss of the "big picture" of Scripture. Far too many preachers give inadequate attention to the canonical context of the passage to be preached and of its place in the overarching story of God's purpose to glorify Himself through the redemption of sinners. Taken out of context, and without clear attention to biblical theology, preaching becomes a series of disconnected talks on disconnected texts. This falls far short of the glory of true biblical preaching.

5. An Absence of Gospel
The preaching of the apostles always presented the kerygma--the heart of the gospel. The clear presentation of the Gospel must be a part of the sermon, no matter the text. As Charles Spurgeon expressed this so eloquently, preach the Word, place it in its canonical context, and "make a bee-line to the cross."

The approach of many churches--and preachers--has been to present helpful and practical messages, often with generalized Christian content, but without any clear presentation of the Gospel or call to decision and accountability to the text or to the claims of Christ. The apostles should be our model here, consistently preaching the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of course, in order for the Gospel to make sense, authentic preaching must also deal honestly with the reality of human sin and must do so with a candor equal to that of the biblical text. All this presents the preacher with some significant challenges in our age of "sensitivities." But in the end, preaching devoid of this content--preaching that evades the biblical text and biblical truth--falls short of anything we can rightly call Christian preaching.

These are indeed the best of times and the worst of times. I am thankful for a renaissance of expository preaching, especially among many young preachers. I am thankful for stalwart pulpit examples who now serve as mentors to a generation hungry to see how biblical exposition constitutes the very center of effective and powerful ministry. I am thankful for a number of outstanding programs in seminaries directed towards encouraging and equipping this generation for that task.

At the same time, I am also concerned that dangerous trends and many popular examples threaten to undermine the centrality of biblical exposition in evangelical pulpits. In the end, the Christian preacher simply must confront the congregation with the Word of God. That confrontation will be at times awkward, challenging, and difficult. After all, this is the Word that pierces us like a sword. The evangelical preacher must set his aim at letting the sword loose, neither hiding it nor dulling its edge.

24 comments:

ljchan said...

I think your 5 children are blessed to have a father who is neither intimidated to speak out nor blinded by things he has just spoken out against. And to keep on topic :) I think that what Mohler has written carries warnings for us who are not in the pulpit as well, and for us as parents, in how we ourselves seek the Lord. I like what he has written about the potential dangers of visual media influence. I know that when I read the Bible to my kids, and we read of God's awesome acts, I often wonder how much they feel of it. We see spectacular things on the big screen, but it is far removed from us--does it deaden our sense of awesomeness? It seems that now we want our eyes tickled even more than our ears.

cyd said...

Dear Steve:

Thank you for your fairness and accuracy in presenting the issues at stake here this past week.
I appreciate the balance of well placed humor, i.e., gay sheep, ;)
with the truth of God's Word.

Staying on topic must be challenging when others aim to distract from the issue and make it personal. You have clearly stated your respect and love for Dr. Mohler all along, and today's article confirms that once again.

I wish that more bloggers were just as objective about such things.

Keep up the great work!

cyd

gigantor1231 said...

When the the foundations of preaching the un-adulterated word of God are gone then where will the people turn. God has chosen the written and preached word as his primary means of communication and we are blessed to have the freedom to hear it. Perhaps we have become so spoiled that we do not realize the treasure that we have! Contrary to the belief of some the word of God is truly a miracle in its construction and composition, it is obvious that only God could accomplish what has been done by bringing it together. Exspository preaching of the word of God is essential in communicating what God has done, is doing and will do;

Rom. 10:14,15

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

The New King James Version. 1982 (Ro 10:14-15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Michael Deal said...

There are some salient points in Dr Mohler's article, but his column ironically displays the problem we have today. He starts with 2 Timothy 3, launches into his comments and does not seriously expound the Bible passage at all. The pressing problem today is that Christian leaders are not preaching the word of God they are simply doing hobby horse sermons without any serious engagement of the text. He makes some good points but he must expound the text, preach the word Al.

Best Wishes,

Michael

john said...

Dr Mohler's points are great observations of post-modern culture. The fact that we now how so many inputs - and many of them visual - represents a great opportunity for the Church to regain its voice.

From the 19th-mid 20th centuries, preaching was king. That form of delivering the gospel fit the culture perfectly, and God used great preachers to deliver his message.

I think in the 1970s, the sands began to shift. Other forms of gospel delivery became more prevalent. The rise of praise and worship music represented a sort of shift to where guys like Steve and other musicians were anointed to deliver the gospel to people who didn't respond as much to preaching.

I think the post-modern culture will see the Church return to many expressions that we had previously retreated from. Believers will return to serious art, poetry and drama (not just houses covered in snow).

It's not that preaching is not longer applicable. It's just that it will happen in a form to fit the culture.

I think perhaps the effectiveness of preaching has declined because the witness of the Church has lost its impact. Many of us believers - by acting just like the world or by doing boneheaded things - have damaged the integrity of Christianity.

The natural effect is that people are leery of our message. They see us as hypocrites or worse - snake oil salesmen.

That's why I believe another way the Church must regain the trust of the culture is through service. Working to help the needy and homeless, volunteering in community-based activities,etc.

By putting action with our words, I think our preaching will regain its impact. For example, instead of just picketing abortion clinics, we can also support Crisis Pregnancy Centers and become involved in fostering or adoption.

I think these are the new post-modern incarnations of preaching. As my former pastor was constantly reminding us, people don't care how much we know until they know how much we care. Love and service can often open hearts to the gospel.

gigantor1231 said...

John

Your commentary is specious at best. I am not saying that your guess is not right but it is just a guess.
As it stands right now, with the belief system that the postmodern leadership has fostered, coexistence, unknowable truth and the removal of the word of God as the chief foundation and cornerstone, I would say that you have a good platform to usher in the anti-christ. Now that is just my opinion based on the evidence so far though!
As far as your gospel of good works is concerned, you are very condescending in your tone. Social activism and service are great but without the Gospel of Jesus Christ it is just the works of men, and those are filthy rags before God. I say this based upon the fact that you say "the word of God is part myth, part poetry and part history, so, you preach a different gospel than what is contained with in the word! Really sounds like the good works gospel and the sovereignty of man. If you get right down to it the post modern movement looks like a re-incarnation of the roman catholic church, made by man, made for man and with all the benefits of man. Lets return to those feel good days of Da Vinci, Galileo, Mozart etal. and make the world feel good about itself and its sin, I mean it is probably genetic any way and so how can we hold anyone accountable for their gene problem? We need to do some great art, poetry and drama and while we are at it lets get out the incense and get all the senses involved, sing Lenon's 'Imagine' here.
I am curious though, sense the bible is not a reliable source to you, what do you base your beliefs upon. You don't just hold to opinion and pragmatism do you?

john said...

Sorry Gig. I told you I was done playing this game with you and I meant it.

I will not defend myself to you everytime I make a post. It's wasting everyone's time.

If you would like to comment on my thoughts about preaching that I put in my post, that's cool. Otherwise, let's not be children.

gigantor1231 said...

John

Are you saying; don't ask you to give evidence of the hope that is with in you? Aren't we here to sharpen each other, "iron sharpening iron"? Perhaps you are beyond that now! I have never thought that you were a waste of time but if that is the way you feel regarding me then that is how you feel.
Remember the rules of engagement John;

8. Titus 1:9 says, "instruct in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict." Though I allow diverse discussion to take place here, unsound doctrine will be confronted fearlessly and error will be refuted relentlessly when it is expressed.

I will challenge you if I feel what you say needs to be challenged.
My last question was not a request for your statement of faith but a clairification of what you use to build your faith, obviously you use more than the bible wich is myth, poetry and history to you, as you have said 'one need be careful in reliance upon the bible due to it's errancy and the influence of man, actually it seems that on your own web site some see you as the sage of bible error and they seek you for council on this issue, just a observation. So, where does this faith you have come from? I already know that you say you hold faith in Christ, so no need in going there.
As far as me being a child...wow John, you have lowered yourself to name calling, disappointing.

gigantor1231 said...

John

What the bottom line is here regarding my response to what you said is that you make statements and accusations but you provide no evidence. It would be nice if you could provide some type of verifiable evidence and then support your oppinion or accusation with what ever it is that you use for your plumb line!
It is pretty obvious by what you say on your blog that you have a great deal of bitterness toward the 'fundies', as you call them, and you also have a great deal of animosity towards those that hold to the word of God as being innerant and you resent that we call it The Word of God. Perhaps you do not have sources to quote and you simply hold to your own reality and if that is the way you draw your conclusions then my prayers are with you.
I can honestly tell you right now, if you have not figured it out, the sole plumb line that I use for everything is the word of God, the bible. I try not to deviate from that but of course I do at times. My point is that I have been honest and tried to answer all your questions but I do not feel the same reciprocation. If your faith will not allow you to do this that is fine, but it would be nice to know what gives you the faith to believe what you believe.

gigantor1231 said...

PS

How is this on topic with the efficacy and the state of preaching today? Simply put, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, the preached word is one of the primary vehicles by wich God delivers his truth! In order to have inteligent conversation and understand your perspective it would be good to know what you use as a standard and how you come to the conclusion that the method of delivery needs to be changed to fit the culture? Where does this type of belief come from?

john said...

Christianity is in a constant state of reformation. There are also times of major reformation - like... well... the Reformation.

The Church constantly reforms itself based on new information or understanding of the world around us and the culture in which we live.

To say that scripture should be followed as it was understood in AD 200 or the 1500s or the 1970s denies the idea of a "living" word.

I do believe scripture to be the Word of God. I just don't think it's always exactly as it seems. I think the creation story could be myth. That doesn't mean that I deny that the point of the story is true - namely that God created everything. And I think that the people who God used to write it did have some influence on the text.

john said...

My greatest concern with regard to preaching is that it more often than not focuses us on us instead of on God and others.

Often, pastors are more like self-help gurus or CEOs than holy men.

gigantor1231 said...

John

While it is true as our knowledge of God grows we know more of him, that is no excuse to leave the old markers behind or take them out, they are there as boundaries and rememberances. I see what the post modern movement has done is completely tear out the old mileposts and say that they need to be replaced, the christian needs to go through 'deconstruction' and forget what the old fools of the past said because the new gurus like McClaren, Warren, Blanchard etal. have got it all together. Social reform is the way to go and they are going to usher in the real kingdom of God! So let's use the word the way the enlightened post moderns see fit, after all it is useful and lets make it say what we think it should to accomplish that good end that we see. Out with preaching, exegesis and faithful exposition of the pure word of God and in with narative, eisegesis, ambiguity and stories, then we can coexist and have peace.
Having perused your sight and read your blogs, especially your statement of faith in God and Christ it made me wonder what was missing, then it came to me that your post modern blog is like Burger King, "have it your way". Toss out what won't work for culture and keep what you see as working, lets bring it down to the peoples reality so they can see it and trust us, after all how shall they be saved lest they first trust us and see that we are nice and then maybe we can earn the right to give them the gospel light, now keep the hell and holiness part out because they might not like that and run. I really feel for the folks that live under that kind of teaching, they think they are so free but they will see what bondage is about when the time comes.

john said...

Focus Gig. We're talking about preaching here.

Many postmoderns are concerned about the very thing you're talking about - losing touch with our history. I'm not for getting rid of markers. We should know and respect where we come from. You'd be surprised how many emerging gatherings are singing hymns and studying hardcore theology.

But we can't be in love with the markers more than we're in love with God and with others. The upcoming generations often identify with visual arts, music and other types of stimulus. Will we love them enough to present the gospel to them in a way that they can understand, or will we insist on Billy Graham evangelism?

Don't get me wrong. I'm down with Billy. His style was perfect for his era. God used him mightily. But that era is gone. The new generations don't respond to that style anymore. To them, it's predicable and stagnent. Notice I said the STYLE - not the message.

gigantor1231 said...

John


The efficacy and state of preaching is exactly the point John and as I quoted, from your own words;

"That form of delivering the gospel fit the culture perfectly, and God used great preachers to deliver his message."

The point that you leave out is that every generation prior has had it's great preachers and the spoken and written Gospel of God is what brought men to salvation. The word of God has not changed over that course of time nor has it's mode of delivery. The point that I am trying to get at is that you want to promote the change of what has worked through the last 2000 years. You think it needs to be more culturally relevant via drama, dance, art and poetry? I think the problem is that since it is not relevant to your own personal reality and the reality of post modern leaders then you apply your theory of irrelevance to all society.
The Holy Spirit is the one that draws all men to himself and there is no salvation with out the Spirit of God present. He is soveriegn to make the preached word relevant no matter what form it is. The question is do you trust the Holy Spirit to work with the word that He has written and enlighten people to the truth? Or are you saying that the post modern church needs to change the method of delivery because the Holy Spirit is missing it? Please humor me and quote your sources that promote this needed change, where does this teaching come from? Also, where is the Holy Spirit involved in what you propose, has He mandated this change? To be honest with you what you propose is based on pragmatism in it's purest form and it is a contrdiction to the actions of God among mankind throughout history.

LivingDust said...

I agree with every jot and tittle of Dr. Mohler's evaluation and particularly the part about the absence of Gospel preaching that plagues most Southern Baptist pulpits:

Dr. Moholer said - "The approach of many churches--and preachers--has been to present helpful and practical messages, often with generalized Christian content, but without any clear presentation of the Gospel or call to decision and accountability to the text or to the claims of Christ. The apostles should be our model here, consistently preaching the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of course, in order for the Gospel to make sense, authentic preaching must also deal honestly with the reality of human sin and must do so with a candor equal to that of the biblical text. All this presents the preacher with some significant challenges in our age of "sensitivities." But in the end, preaching devoid of this content--preaching that evades the biblical text and biblical truth--falls short of anything we can rightly call Christian preaching."

What Dr. Mohler failed to say is that the psycho-babble, life instruction messages that are loosed from most Southern Baptist pulpits on any Sunday morning in America is an offense to God. They rarely confront the unsaved with the promise of God's wrath and fury for those who die without Christ. Dare not mention the command to repent. Dare not describe Calvary. Dare not mention the need for tears of contrition for sins. Our Pastors prefer to deliver their messages as men of intellect, not faith. It fits well with their seminary doctorates. All of this works especially well to hinder the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, above all lets keep it all non-offensive, non-confrontational, and comfortable. Folks won't walk the aisle and join the club if we preach the Gospel.

Southern Baptist seminary leaders should hang there heads in shame and Southern Baptist congregations should repent of their tolerance for ineffective, worldly preaching.

john said...

I'm not saying that the younger generations won't have their great preachers. I'm suggesting that perhaps those preachers will have a different style that those before.

For example, I think movie makers can be evangelists. There are a few movies in particular that pack all the punch of a Sunday morning sermon. One is "Joshua" - a pic that imagines what Jesus would be like if He came to earth right now. "Winn Dixie" is a great reflection on true community. And "The Passion" is simply the best depiction of the crucifixion ever IMHO.

My point is that preaching doesn't have to consist of one guy standing on a stage in front of people in a church preaching a sermon in the way most of us are used to. There are other ways to deliver the message.

I don't think young believers are setting out to change for the sake of change. I think we're seeing the shift because we are the products of our culture. When someone grows up watching TV and going to the movies, they become fluent in those forms of expression. It's only natural to use those forms to communicate with others.

Gig - I'm trying very hard not to be argumentative. Our arguing can't be pleasing to God. I respectfully request that we dial it down a notch.

I'm just exchanging ideas here. That's what blogs are about. I don't think my ideas are the only valid ones - they just represent my point of view.

I respectfully request that we dial it down a notch and be more winsome that argumentative.q

gigantor1231 said...

John

I have never tried to be argumetative, I have always said that it is not important who is right or wrong but what is important is the pure truth. I have only presented the facts from the the word of God, and of course I have quoted you in order to show what you have said. Point is that the pure un adulterated word of God, the perfect representation of Christ, the Gospel and I mean the whole gospel telling everything from the promises and benefits of knowing the risen savior to the fact that if one does not know him and if one chooses to live a life of the flesh, then you perish for eternity and reside in a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, hell, eternal seperation from God. This is our key parting point according to your own words because as you have said, the key element of preaching, the word of God, the unadulterated Gospel, is nothing more than "poetry, myth, and history, for the most part a work of man."
I agree that God can use any mode that He wants to convey the Gospel, He could use rocks if He so desired but the message that he has chosen is the same one in all cases to bring men to the knowledge of Christ, the inerrant bible, the Gospel!
LivingDust is right on when saying;

"But in the end, preaching devoid of this content--preaching that evades the biblical text and biblical truth--falls short of anything we can rightly call Christian preaching."

And

"What Dr. Mohler failed to say is that the psycho-babble, life instruction messages that are loosed from most Southern Baptist pulpits on any Sunday morning in America is an offense to God. They rarely confront the unsaved with the promise of God's wrath and fury for those who die without Christ. Dare not mention the command to repent. Dare not describe Calvary. Dare not mention the need for tears of contrition for sins. Our Pastors prefer to deliver their messages as men of intellect, not faith. It fits well with their seminary doctorates. All of this works especially well to hinder the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, above all lets keep it all non-offensive, non-confrontational, and comfortable. Folks won't walk the aisle and join the club if we preach the Gospel."

The true Gospel is not only lacking in the preaching coming from the SB pulpits, it is clearly non existent in the post modern doctrine and pulpits because it is direct and non ambiguous, it is the truth.

LivingDust said...

Gigantor1231,

For clarification, the words you attributed to me were not my words but the words of Dr. Mohler from his main point #5 Absence of Gospel - "But in the end, preaching devoid of this content--preaching that evades the biblical text and biblical truth--falls short of anything we can rightly call Christian preaching."

He is much more eloquent than I could ever hope to be.

The other words were mine.

gigantor1231 said...

LD

Thanks for bringing that to my attention, I saw the quotations but for some reason I did not put it together. Of course the point does not change that preaching devoid of the Gospel, the Whole unadulterated Gospel "falls short of anything we can rightly call christian preaching."

SJ Camp said...

Here is a portion of a series of quotes I posted this morning precisely for some of the concerns that Al addressed in his article and some of you are mentioning here as well.

"Jesus is the Truth. We believe in Him, —not merely in His words. He Himself is Doctor and Doctrine, Revealer and Revelation, the Illuminator and the Light of Men. He is exalted in every word of truth, because He is its sum and substance. He sits above the gospel, like a prince on His own throne. Doctrine is most precious when we see it distilling from His lips and embodied in His person. Sermons [and songs] are valuable in proportion as they speak of Him and point to Him. A Christ-less gospel is no gospel and a Christ-less discourse is the cause of merriment to devils." -C.H. SPURGEON

May we all guard the truth and keep the message Christ-centered (exaltation); God-conceived (divine revelation--His Word); and Spirit-controlled (sanctification).

Oh for that kind of preaching again... "there is a famine of the Word of God in the land..."

john said...

"The true Gospel is not only lacking in the preaching coming from the SB pulpits, it is clearly non existent in the post modern doctrine and pulpits because it is direct and non ambiguous, it is the truth."

Gig,
Have you ever actually been to an emerging gathering? You're passing judgment on their preaching, but have you ever heard it? I disagree that the preaching of the gospel doesn't happen in post-modern congregations. Marc Driscoll is a guy that you probably agree with totally theologically and he operates in a post-modern context.

gigantor1231 said...

John

You contradict yourself, about a month ago I brought up Driscoll as one who was perhaps post modern in his methods and beliefs and you quikly corrected me and told me he did not consider himself post modern, although Donald Miller and others have tried to include him in their circle he resents it. After researching Driscoll's church and his preaching more thoroughly I would have to say that he is reformist and at least a four point calvinist, wich he states he is. I do not agree with some of his methods and feel that he is pragmatic but he appears to hold to the innerrancy of the word and you are correct in that he preaches the un-adulterated gospel from what I have seen. I think he disregards holiness in much of what he does and gets involved with things that he should not be getting involved with but he does not hold to a ambiguous doctrine or a fragmented belief in the bible, he also believes that truth can be known and is not relative. If you are saying his outreach methods are post modern in nature I would probably agree with that. My point was towards those like McClaren, Miller, Warren who are more outspoken Post modernist.
As far as my personal involvement with the post modern movement, you jump to conclusions to soon. I was involved in a church in Portland, Or. called City Bible Church, pastor Frank Damazio. They are actually a very well know church and have connection with much of those involved in the post modern movement, so I was exposed to that teaching and preaching for a great part of my life. Don't get me wrong here regarding City Bible, I am not certain that they are whole hearted post modernist but the last time I was there they certainly were headed in that direction and they definitely have ties in the movement.

gigantor1231 said...

PS

Sorry about deviating from the topic, just trying to clarify where I am coming from. My point is and has always been that preaching without the un- adulterated Gospel as it's central source and inspiration is not the direction that our message should be headed. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians;

1Cor. 2:1, 2

1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

We should hope to claim to know nothing less and nothing more than Christ and him Crucified in order that He might be magnified and glorified and we become less.