On Christless Preaching
Here's a few great excerpts:
The Bible is certainly not oblivious to moral issues. The prophetic voices in scripture testify to God’s holy concern with how we treat one another, and how justice is exhibited in society. But the key to scripture is always Jesus, not moral or social reform. In some of his most shocking words, Jesus says that there is a comparison that can be made between religion that helps the poor and the Gospel that commands all men everywhere to repent and believe.
Evangelicals are emotionally–and politically–engaged with cultural battles like homosexual marriage and abortion. They have demonstrated substantial growth in their support of ministries of mercy. But some of this political and moral involvement has been at the cost of Christ-centered preaching. “The Crisis”–whatever it might be–is never the point of our discipleship. We are always followers of Jesus.
Am I being overly theological? (See the coming IM piece on “I Hate Theology.”) Is there really something wrong in speaking of God without centering that proclamation on Christ himself? Yes. If we believe that Jesus makes all the difference between the idolatries of our own opinions and the self-revelation of God in scripture and preaching, then we have to be concerned about preaching and teaching that allows the hearer to decide what Jesus is all about or if Jesus matters at all.
The trend toward Christless preaching is also happening because even educated preachers are not students of scripture, or even students at all. I’ve met several seminary graduates who bragged that they hadn’t read a book since seminary, and never intended to correct that. Christian bookstores are a good measurement of the intellectual muscle of the average pastor. Research tells us that the average younger American is now watching a hundred movies for every book he or she reads. That includes a lot of preachers. This is perpetuating remarkable ignorance, and it is taking away the ability to preach Christ.
And finally a word of admonition! Emphasis mine.
Scripture can’t be replaced, and it must be understood, and the ministry has the responsibility to lead the way. In other words, don’t let your pastor become an idiot.We will miss you Michael.