Preaching as an Asault Against the Obvious


William Willimon continues to challenge my preaching and preaching training in his helpful work The Intrusive Word. He writes on page 73:

Preaching, once a parabolic assault on the complacent and the fixed, degenerates into flat, three-point reiteration of the conventional and the obvious.

Does your preaching simply reiterate or might I say, regurgitate, the conventional or obvious? I think that with the tremendous number of sermons on your “breakthrough” or the coming of your “blessing” that we are seeing a large number of flat out copies of an approach to preaching that simply affirms the conventional. It affirms the present social order. Instead of praying, preaching, and working towards a social order more in line with God’s principles, we preach “status quo” messages that attempt to help people thrive in this present order. We become vassals of the current system rather than prophets of a better world.

We might gain our theology and emphasis from the television preaching personalities rather than from a God who is seeking to “turn the world upside down” through us (Acts 17:1-9).

We must be very careful not to be conventional or weak in our messages or perhaps simply pander to a world order that God will rightly overthrow. The time is now for prophets of righteousness and truth rather than priests of contemporary societal values.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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