Shake It Up a Bit

“So many sermons follow the beaten track, in which we can soon foresee all that is coming, as to make it a weary task even for devout hearers to listen attentively. One feels inclined to utter a plaintive cry, ‘Worthy brother, excellent brother, if you could only manage to drive us sometimes over a different road, even if much less smooth, even if you do not know it very well — I am so tired of this!'” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p. 259).

Theology That Bites Back



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  • timothy

    Dr. Charles Stanley of  in-touch ministries in Atlanta cannot go 5 minutes during his sermons without reverting to the basics of the Gospel. He is all-technical and what-not and this-not and that-not and then comes the Gospel  “Listen! Jesus Christ died for your sins and if you repent of your sins and trust in Him then you will be saved… ….” .///then you wait another 5 minutes and “Listen!…”
    With apologies to Mr. Broadus, it never grows old–rather, it gets better each time I hear it.///
    I  contrast Dr Stanley’s fervor with the chap from “The Crystal Cathedral” who had all the “right people” at his services–but you NEVER heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.///
    Come to think of it, I listened two 2 of your sermons via mp3 download and enjoyed them. they where very important. However, now that I think about it, I do not know if I heard the Gospel preached. I will re-listen to those sermons.
    Grace and Peace to you, Pastor Wilson.

  • J

    Timothy, with all due respect, if you didn’t hear the Gospel in one of Doug’s sermons it’s because you weren’t listening close enough.

  • Mike Bull

    This might be one of the reasons young people are leaving the church. Most oldies love hearing the same old thing, at least the ones I know. Young people today have a much greater capacity for what’s actually in the Bible. The old ways just don’t cut it any more, but the Old Books still does. Sadly, the ministry is too often a veil BETWEEN people and the Scriptures. My kids tell me this, too. Young people don’t just want a pastor who tells them WHAT they learned in Sunday School (or worse, a pastor I know who just reads verses out loud and says “Isn’t that incredible!” and then turns to a similar verse in another epistle, reads it out loud and says, “Paul says the same thing here. Isn’t that incredible!”). Young people want to know WHY things happened, and why the Bible is often so weird. Like the prophets, the Lord did weird things to get our attention, but we just act like people tie foxes together all the time, and a bowl of salt always cures miscarriage. I don’t understand it. So much preaching is like listening to somebody practice their scales every week.

  • Eric Stampher

    timothy — Does your definition of Gospel exclude most of the Bible?  I mean, you heard a preacher base his words on Scripture — you thought “Well that’s true enough” — yet you don’t know if you heard the Gospel?  What part of the Bible is not Gospel?

  • timothy

    Good point. God does speak through it all–for the unsaved who is at a service for the first time, the “begats…” section my not be the most effective for conveying it.///Also, it is very true that my ears perk up every time I here it. Chesterton wrote about some philosphers complaining about how the planets just went around and around the sun–and how boring and predictable it was. Chesterton flipped that on its head with God taking the simple joy a child has in taking delight in ‘again!’

  • timothy

    You describe precisely why I enjoy Pastor Wilson’s preaching so much. I have also observed the incoherence you speak of–I call it ‘flippitis-preaching’–where the main exercise of the sermon for the laity is to attempt to turn to the correct verse before the pastor starts reading from it. You know, turn now to Hebrews 2.3….”read read read”…now turn to “minor prophet who’s name nobody remembers” verse 4:2.”read read read” quickly flip over to Acts…You get dizzy! Plus its embarassing when you have to keep glancing to your left and right to see which way to turn. ///I much prefer the expositional method that Pastor Wilson utilizes. It binds  Christ and the Apostles and their actions, decisions, problems , culture, personalities–to us, today. ///For all that, I really enjoy hearing it broken up with a “Listen! If you are here to day and have not repented…”
    Grace and Peace.

  • timothy

    To shake things up here a bit…. William Lane Craig just had a debate with Sean Carrol and your good friend from number 2 thermodynamic lane makes an appearance.

  • timothy

    I apologize for semi-hijacking the thread, but it is a wonder how the same themes and mistakes repeat across the intellectual spectrum. From my link in my previous comment, I cut-n-paste from the linked site:

    In my first speech I used 5. above as a launching pad to make a bigger point: the real reason theism isn’t taken seriously is because it’s completely ill-defined. If we would presume to contemplate theism from an intellectually honest perspective, we would try to decide what kind of universe we would expect to live in if theism were true; then we would do the same for naturalism; and finally we would compare those expectations to the real world. But when we do that we find theistic expectations failing to match reality over and over again. Now, I know perfectly well (from experience as well as from cogitation) that you can never make headway with theists by claiming “If God existed, He would do X, and He doesn’t” (where X is “prevent needless suffering,” “make His existence obvious,” “reveal useful non-trivial information to us,” “spread religious messages uniformly over the world,” etc.) Because they have always thought through these, and can come up with an explanation why God would never have done that. (According to Alvin Plantinga, our world — you know, the one with the Black Death, the Holocaust, AIDS, Hurricane Katrina, and so on — is “so good that no world could be appreciably better.”) But these apologetic moves come at a price: they imply a notion of theism so flexible that it becomes completely ill-defined. That’s the real problem. Craig’s way of putting it is to suggest that God is “like the cosmic artist who wants to splash his canvas with extravagance of design.” That’s precisely why naturalism has pulled so far ahead of theism in the intellectual race to best model our world: because it plays by rules and provides real explanations for why the world is this way rather than that way.

    These are exactly James’ concerns from the “Circumlocutions and Faggotre” thread and frankly any discussion anywhere. The comments are the same, the ignoramuses are the same, the gracious souls are there and the proud fools. To make it worse, the Holy Spirit is prodding me to relearn my math skills and learn theoretical physics! I tell you, this Christianity is not bean-bag.