Sunday, November 05, 2006

On Preaching

"...I now believe that the church is not here to speak to the world. We preachers do not have as our task to provide the world with some reason for living or some meaning for its worldliness -- we do not believe that the world, on its own, can have a reason or a menaing for its life. The church is about a more imperialistic enterprise than a deferential speaking to the world. We are to let God destroy and create a world through our preaching."
Conversations With Barth On Preaching (Abingdon, 2006)

Too often, Preachers think that they have to make the Gospel more interesting to the world instead of allowing an already interesting and powerful Gospel go about remaking the world. Can preaching once again be revived to its proper end?

6 comments:

Matt said...

It is as if we think we are the ones who need to transform this transforming message before it is able to really transform someone. Kind of silly, really.

Time to let the gospel be the gospel and let it have authority over us and not the other way around. Good thoughts. God bless

John Meunier said...

I would love to see some examples of sermons that demonstrate this difference, Bishop.

Can anyone point to some?

Pontificator said...

Bishop, what books on preaching do you recommend?

the reverend mommy said...

Amen, Matt.
One of my devout and dearly held beliefs is that a chuch will not grow (much) spiritually beyond their pastor. If you are not personally renewing yourself spiritually, then you church will not have the tools necessary.
We need to be continually transformed ourselves through the gospel before we can really preach a prophetic word.

Matt said...

That also means our ministers need our prayers and support too! They need people who will help them in their spiritual journey at times just like anyone else.

Jeff Jenkins said...

I've always admired your ministry and scholarship. Thank you for continuing to call so many to the Lord.

John, I think the difference is not in the sermon but in understanding the call of God on a person's heart.

That God grants repentance. The Lord draws men unto himself.

I love the word "Witness" in regards to the sermon. We, like the original messengers are either witnesses in our proclamation of the gospel - or we're merely a jury examining facts and discussing facts that we've not witnessed or experienced.

Witness oriented preaching is from the inside out and through this preaching - the aim isn't in making the message interesting - it's just being authentic with one's experience of the Lord and the Word - and letting Him do the rest in the hungry or apathetic hearts.

However - where there's no real power from the inside of the preacher - then he has to perform in order to make the message appealing - because it's not really that appealing to him.

Then again - some strive for excellence in the presentation of the message simply to give the Lord the highest honor in telling his story.