Once again the Peter Mead from the Biblical Preaching blog provides a short post with a big punch. This time he quotes from Dwight Stevenson’s work A Reader on Preaching and asks, us to consider if we are truly preaching a sermon or something else.
Replacements for Sermons
- Moralistic harangue – Beating down folks for not living up to Christian Standards. Are you always telling folks what they should or should not do? Are your sermons littered with fire and brimstone and never have the peaceful breath of God’s grace blowing on it?
- Pontifical pronouncement – The preaching from on high to people who should just take what you say without reflection or discussion. Are you always telling people what is the “truth” without ever speaking about how you came to that truth?
- Museum lecture – Dull, boring, and irrelevant, but may have an interesting piece of interesting information. Are you trying to tell people interesting facts about the Bible land or era or obscure facts coming from Christian theology? Does your sermon answer the big question “So What?”
- Palliative prescription – Cheap grace, pain relief. Making folks feel good without any responsibility. Does your sermons always tell people how to feel good. Does your sermons deal with the pain without dealing with the causes of the pain?
Preaching the Gospel is the Solution
This is a pretty good list. A sermon connects the transformative power of God to humanity. Our objective is not to help people to feel good, although the Gospel will do that. Neither is our objective to tell people to live better, once again the gospel will do that. Certainly the gospel is not about interesting facts from a byegone era, although the Gospel is definitely interesting. No!! The Gospel is what we are to preach. When the Gospel does it, it is much more balanced and helpful than when we do it ourselves.