Monday, February 4, 2008

Preaching that Draws a Line in the Sand

In The Art of Pastoring, David Hansen reflects on an early flirtation with universalism and the effects of excising the gospel on his preaching:
All I could see and all I could preach was what we should be doing. We should love one another. We should free one another from dysfunctional entanglements. We should be less prejudiced. We should feed the poor. But all I could say was "We should." I lost the ability to say "You must." Since in the end it didn't really make much difference how people lived, it didn't make much difference what I preached, or if I even preached at all.

My thinking had become frivolous, my theology one of wishful thinking. My words became inconsequential. My religion was reduced to a self-help methodology, a happy way to cope with life. I became a moralist, a counselor, a two-bit pop psychologist.

I have visited three churches in as many weeks. Only three, granted. But none of them talked about Jesus in any substantial way, and I'm being generous in saying that because I don't recall any of them even mentioning Jesus at all. Just want to make an allowance for my memory being faulty. Lots of "you should." Lots of help, advice, tips. No gospel.

These are contemporary, non-denominational churches.
Do people have to go "traditional" if they want to hear about Jesus?

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