Friday, April 25, 2008

Bored with Good Preaching

Paul Martin asks Are you bored with good preaching?
A family came to GFC a few months ago and could not stop talking about how glad they were to "hear the Word again." I warned them, as I warn others in their situation, that they must guard their hearts from an over-zealous enthusiasm. Although it is great that they are being fed, even bland food feels like a feast to a malnutritioned man. What will they do when they have regained spiritual sustenance and find that the preaching is Biblical, yet quite average? If they train their senses to feel something is "good" only when they receive some kind of spiritual high, they could very well end up running from place to place looking for that high, not the Word.

There are still others that are so used to being well fed that when summer comes, or relatives visit or some other fancy strikes, they feel quite free to skip church to play.

He then quotes some great verse from John Newton.

I have a confession to make:
Although I am committed to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus every week -- in essence, playing the same song every Sunday -- every single week I am tempted by the devil to do something else so that people won't be bored with it. "It's going to sound the same as last week," he says to me, and he is so convincing and so logical that I have to constantly renew my commitment to my calling lest I give in to the temptation to keep people entertained or interested in something other than the "same old" Jesus.

Blogging has been light this week, btw, because I have family in town.


Martin said...

Sure, you're not seeking to entertain.
Sure, Jesus Christ and Him crucified should be at the heart of what is preached each week being the only solution for salvation and sanctification. But that doesn't mean nothing can change. For example, the mode of presentation doesn't have to be the same - some people can get more out of a sermon / retain more when there are some visual aids for example or, different examples/illustrations applicable to different types of people can be used. The type of practical application can vary - sometimes it may be more relevant and therefore more challenging and encouraging (since a sermon should be both) to those prone to legalism, sometimes to those prone to hedonism and so on (although, ideally, the applicability to both types of person should be brought out).

Then, also, a preacher could probably never be accused of praying too much nor studying and striving too much to ensure that
his doctrine and preaching is as biblically faithful and balanced, Christ-centred and convicting and encouraging as possible. Other than that, nothing to it! :~)


can vary

Jared said...

Martin, good comment.

I wasn't referring to contextualization or format so much as I was the thrust of the message. We change changeable things quite a bit where I worship. But when it comes to the point of the message -- Jesus and the gospel -- we're committed to airing a rerun every week. :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the Newton quote but can't find its source. Any ideas?

Jared said...

If you've already tried Google, nope.
Did you ask Paul where he got it?

Anonymous said...

maybe I'm missing something obvious but i don't see that newton quote on the link you provided. i see a hymn of newton but not that quote. it's not that big of a deal other than that I'd feel more comfortable sharing that quote if i knew what it was from.

Jared said...

Yes, the hymn is from Newton.
The part I'm quoting in this post is from Paul Martin's blog post itself. I am quoting Martin's words at the link provided, not Newton's.

Hope that makes sense.

Martin said...

Hi Jared,

We are in agreement. :-)

I'd only quibble with your frequency. I need to hear it every day! ;-)