Monday, October 13, 2014


For Why Preaching?

CHaplain Mike argues with himself about the goal of preaching:
I guess what I feel most hesitant about is this idea of “life-change” or “life-transformation” being the goal rather than a byproduct of preaching the Word....But Paul’s goal seems even bigger than that. Giving them “the Gospel of God” to “change their lives” doesn’t adequately summarize what Paul was about. If I read the passage correctly (and please read all of 1Thess. 2 for the whole context), his goal is to represent God well by proclaiming Jesus and his kingdom while laying down his life for his listeners in personal, sacrificial love.
I find the entire question an issue. What is the goal of anything we do? What is the goal of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? The question assumes a centrality of importance to preaching that I am not sure it deserves. It is not the only way the gospel is proclaimed - probably not even the primary way. It's centrality and importance are derived from the Sunday morning entertainment model of church.

It used to be we gathered on Sunday's for sacrament and preaching happened. Now we gather for preaching and sometimes sacrament happens. Think about that. Preaching in service to the sacramental gathering, not gathering in order to receive preaching. The kind of preaching I think that Make is worried about should be happening "out there." The proclamation of the gospel happens in the world, we gather in church for the Lord.

This is, I believe, where church has gone so wrong in recent decades. "Many are called, few are chosen." We have taken a place for the chosen to celebrate their Lord and turned it into a calling. Sacrament is reserved for the chosen, the calling is for everyone. Both are the job of the church - don't get me wrong - but in the modern church where are we to turn for our sacrament? Where are the indications that there is more to this entire enterprise than just hearing the call, week after week?

BTW, preaching, even in calling, is still icing on the cake. It adds words and descriptions to something people need to be seeing and experiencing.


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