According to new research by the Barna organization, nowhere are pastors feeling the pressure on this point more than on matters surrounding the ethics of sexuality and of reproduction…
Yet more worrying than the specific examples cited by Barna is the more general point: pastors are frightened of offending their congregants. In part, this is a function of choice: the West, especially America, has for centuries offered a religious marketplace where churches effectively compete for customers, a mindset reinforced by the wider consumerist ethos of the post-World War II economies. And that means awareness of what the consumers will find attractive and what they will not tolerate is critical to the business of church. How many pastors have found many congregants more concerned about ‘the programs’ offered for young people than the quality of preaching or the reverence of worship?
…Pastors should ‘not indulge themselves in loose, extemporary harangues, nor serve God with that which costs them naught.’ In other words, pastors should not act like angry jerks nor simply play to the gallery. Rather, they should be guided by the content, tone, balance, and emphases of the Word of God. Persuasive preaching is neither the needlessly polemical rants of Kierkegard’s self-serving sectarian, nor is it the blandly affirmative pieties of the pastor who just wants to be liked. It is hard on error but rejoices in the positive truth of the gospel; it puts down heresy while yet lovingly building up the congregation. If we preached sermons like that for the congregation, rather than making a sales pitch for the customer base, then Barna’s research would have come to very different conclusions. Read More»
Carl R. Trueman | “Faithful Preaching In A Fashionable World” | July 30, 2021
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