Friday, October 12, 2012


The Transaction

Todd Rhoades quotes John Burchett:
“The mature worshiper is easily edified.” When hearing lackluster (even if biblical) preaching, immatureworshipers will typically not listen to the message because they wish the messenger was more exciting. Conversely, mature worshipers eagerly receive the truth as it is proclaimed, even if it sounds like the preacher is reading a phone book.
Then says:
If I got up and read from Lamentations like Ben Stine for 50 minutes, is it right for me to think that you should be edified?

I certainly hope not.
What Burchett is saying here is that the "transaction" of worship is between us and God not us and the preacher. It gets interesting after that.

The preacher is God's agent. The preacher is serving God, not the audience. The question is not what is the preacher supposed to do to please the audience, but what is the preacher supposed to to do please God. If the preacher preaches to please the audience, that is to say simply to make things interesting, then the preacher is engaged in a transaction with the wrong parties. The preachers purpose is not to please the worshipers, but rather to be God's voice to them.

But here is where it gets tricky. Do you think God's voice would be uninteresting? The answer is perhaps. Certainly the Pharisees found Jesus' voice uninteresting. certainly the Hebrews often found it uninteresting and wandered off.

The most riveting oratory of my life is Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I now many people that could not stand to listen to it. Interesting is very much in the ear of the listener.

In the end there is no transaction between preacher and pew. Those in the pew have a transaction with God and the preacher has a transaction with God. It is up to God to make the preacher interesting and it is up to God to make the pews interested. It is up to all of us to join God's plan for the situation.

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