The Importance of Relating Doctrine to Experience

800px-Thunderstorm_-_NOAAMost preachers are susceptible to either obliterating the uniqueness of our Christian teaching in relating it to humanity, or ignoring the practicality of the doctrines by preaching it in a way that is irrelevant to daily living.

Some of us preach as if our doctrines are not at all related to human living. We ignore the fact that if the doctrines that we preach is to change and transform it must touch and relate to our people in their daily lives. When we make this mistake, we preach long didactic sermons about the trinity or other important doctrines, but we don’t let people know how knowing these things make us different. We end up with people who may know “intellectually” what should be believed, but don’t really know “experientially” how these things make any difference at all.

However, there are others who in an attempt to be practical, totally ignore these important doctrines. These are the ones who end up preaching a vacuous message that has no depth. It often ends up with a sappy “Jesus” that does not make any demands on humanity.  This is the Jesus that does not “judge” anybody and has the ability to forgive our sins, but cannot “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9).  This error ends up with people going home shouting but not able to confront any real problems of their lives becuase you as the preacher have not prepared them for real life.

There is a third way, a road that seeks to teach the truth of the doctrines.  This is important, it is these things that identify us.  However, it is also important to demonstrate how these doctrines are important for daily living.    So I encourage you, don’t dumb down the message!  But also don’t leave the message unrelated to daily living.  If you preach a substantive message and relate it to your peoples real life, then they will be ready and able to fight the conformity that seeks to mold all of us who live in this world. (Romans 12:2).

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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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