Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Missing The Text
This is not personal. I do not know the pastor involved and I don’t want to cast any aspersions on him as a minister. Everyone has bad days, and perhaps this was one of his. All I know is that, IMHO, he completely missed something as he preached on Sunday that was as obvious as the nose on your face.He goes on at length about sermon construction, etc. I want to make my point a bit more simply.
He ruined a perfectly good passage of Scripture. The words he spoke for forty minutes had absolutely nothing to do with the text, even though he was purportedly “expounding” it. His sermon was not consistent with the tone of the passage or the purpose of the Apostle Paul’s words. Nor did it fit with the theme of the season or the service, even though the occasion and other elements in the service complemented the text perfectly. His opening illustration would have been perfect had he applied it to the text, but instead he turned it in another direction.
As a result, this minister missed a perfect opportunity to give a powerful, affirming message of thanksgiving to his congregation. Instead, he essentially called them on the carpet and scolded them, even though the text of Scripture he used had not a word of instruction, challenge, exhortation, warning, or teaching in it.
I blame the common evangelical notion that a pastor must “preach for response.”
This homiletical approach says that the congregation should always be challenged to change, to do something, to be transformed in some way. It is part and parcel of the revivalistic heritage of evangelicalism — Prepare the people. Preach to the people. Persuade the people to respond.
Leave some room for the Holy Spirit! You are preaching to a room full of diverse people in many different situations. They all are just not going to give you the response you think you are supposed to get. In point of fact - thy shouldn't give you the same response. God did create us free after all.
You job is to reveal and allow God to work. Get it?