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Thank you preacher- that was boring, uninspired, obscure and moralistic

Of course the words they use are 'faithful', 'clear', 'helpful' and 'challenging'.

But we all know what they mean.

By the way - when did 'faithful' become a synonym for boring? 

I want to be understood on this point - when I advocate gospel-alone evangelism - that is not a licence for boring preaching.  There are illegitimate solutions to boring preaching of course.  These involve taking a shallow gospel understanding and dressing it up with rhetorical flourish and cultural references.  No - that's not the solution.

But still, boring preaching is a big problem.  Because Jesus is not boring.  So how do we address this?

Go deeper with the gospel.  Be more obsessed with that counter-intuitive word of the cross.  Because this truly evangelical theology (which alone can make sense of the world) will speak into the world radically, surprisingly, provocatively.

If we’re not radical, surprising and provocative – we’re not just being ‘boring’, we’re also being ‘unfaithful’.


0 thoughts on “Thank you preacher- that was boring, uninspired, obscure and moralistic

  1. Heather

    Go deeper with the gospel. Be more obsessed with that counter-intuitive word of the cross


    After nearly a year of being brought repeatedly to the end of "myself", the Lord met with me, picked me up and opened my eyes to the truth that everything in the Bible points to Jesus.

    Everything--right from Genesis! The pictures are everywhere throughout the Scripture and I cannot believe how I consistently missed it before. There is nothing dry or boring about looking for Jesus on every single page!

    I'm not going to hog up your comment section with details as I'm sure you can locate my page if your interested.

    But I do want to thank you again for standing so firmly on the importance of recognizing the trinitarian aspect of God's nature.

  2. codepoke

    Whoops. Button press.

    When an XNFP calls for more deeply radical insight from everyone it seems a little like the blind man insisting an elephant is like a wall, and not at all like a trunk or a rope or a leather flap. Not that I want to advocate boring preaching, but there is such a thing as faithful, helpful, clear and challenging preaching that XNFP's call boring. Take, for example, whoever it was that wrote Chronicles.

    Being an INFP, I'm probably reacting more to things I said in my youth than to anything you said here.

  3. Hiram

    This is exactly what I've been mulling over/praying about lately. Much of the preaching I've been in contact with recently seems like moralism, pushing people to five point behavior modification programs rather than pointing them to Christ. And not Christ merely as a moral example, but in all of His glory (i.e. as Scripture fully presents Him).

    One question that continues to pester me is:

    Where does one draw the line between moralism and "challenging" preaching?

  4. Craig

    Where does one draw the line between moralism and “challenging” preaching?

    Perhaps the challenge is to look for our desperate need to rely on Christ rather than find a better way to be "good"?

    God's one command to Adam was "Don't eat, it isn't good for you to know what I know---Trust Me instead".

    The Lord wants us to rely on Him for everything. Even when we think we know, He wants us to ask and has promised to tell us what we need to know in order to obey in the moment.

    The essence of sin is disbelieving that we were made to NEED God and that the need is a beautiful thing. In reality, the knowledge of good and evil (and the soul crushing weight of it) was a burden that we were not designed to carry.

    Saving faith is that which believes that God knows what He's doing and willingly submits to His loving discipline (so that the faith can grow and be strengthened). We aren't required to fully understand. Only trust and act accordingly. And that is impossible for us to do without God's divine intervention.

    Be humbled--look to Christ. What could be more challenging for us fallen, prideful, sin-tainted humans?

  5. Glen

    Hey Heather,

    Thanks for your encouragement and for your response to Hiram.

    Preaching for 'desperate need' is the kind of 'challenge' we need. Unfortunately in my experience 'challenging' is usually the adjective used for preaching that lays down a daunting standard, but basically leaves us in the driving seat. Michael Spencer (internet monk) posted a while back on how his sermons as a younger man always got his congregation telling him afterwards, "Ouch, you've stepped on some toes this morning!" Looking back, his response now is to say "Well then, I haven't even preached the challenge properly!" (or words to that effect). A challenge that is still humanly possible leads to moralism. A challenge that drives us in utter helplessness to the Lord - that sounds more like gospel preaching to me.

    Hey Codepoke, well yes, I'm sure personality colours where exactly I see the problems and my emphases. But actually I'm talking about content here not delivery. In fact I'm pretty 'stripped down' in the kind of preaching I advocate. I don't go searching for illustrations, stories, jokes, etc.

    In fact my big bugbear is this: the problem of boring preaching is being addressed by ignoring the content and going straight to the packaging. In response to so-called 'boring preaching' many people are preaching an anaemic and toothless gospel very, very passionately.

    And I'm trying to say - forget the packaging, go back to the word of the cross. It doesn't matter if the preacher can tell dramatic stories, hilarious jokes, jumps up and down and yells. And it doesn't matter if he just reads his notes and never moves an eyebrow. Within this simple gospel is a power that overturns the world.

    That's what I reckon, but I dunno.

    Some say that I'm a dreamer...

  6. Otepoti

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, but it isn't the preacher who's doing the work, is it? It's the Holy Spirit, who is often capable of using the least gifted preacher - as Spurgeon would attest with the account of how he was converted by a preacher who just said the same thing, over and over.

  7. Otepoti

    In other words - I've heard a few sermons in my day, but if I didn't take anything away from them , I never thought that that was the preacher's fault, nor yet the Holy Spirit's.

  8. Glen

    Yes Otepoti - I really agree. I must emphasize I'm not talking about preacher's being more 'dynamic'. In fact I'm saying the opposite. Often a dull *gospel* is being dressed up in an engaging style and people are satisfied. I'd much rather a more pedestrian style if it's allied to a radical gospel.

    thank Pete

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