Saturday, April 12, 2008

Christ-Less Christian Preaching

Thanks, Rev. McCain for the post. He writes:
Anyone who spends much time examining popular Protestant literature and listening to popular so-called "Evangelical" preaching, quickly realizes that, apparently, in much of Protestantism, the Name above every Name, Jesus, is optional: the specific articulation of the Gospel appears to be optional in much Protestant church culture, unless it is some kind of evangelistic rally. I know that generalizations always fail, but, it is something I continue to notice across all sorts of media: books, magazines, videos, blog sites: Jesus optional. Christ should be the main point of Christianity. Is He?
Speaking about a "Christian Sermon" he writes:

Jesus made no difference, made no contribution, determined no truth, solved no problem, offered no hope, performed no miracle, never interceded, never atoned, never taught, never lived the truth. Jesus made no claims, offered no invitations, defined no choices.

In fairness, the sermon was on an older testament story, but I am holding the preacher responsible for somehow preaching a Christian sermon, not a motivational talk. Christian preaching, no matter where it comes from, is necessarily oriented to the person, work and gospel of Jesus Christ in some way. (emphasis mine)

It is a constant struggle in preaching! "Pastor why can't you preach like that!" People hear what they think is a great sermon but in reality it brings not the Life that God promises in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Human nature wants acceptance instead of conflict. Pastors all too often give in to popularity instead of holding to what God has called them to do.

Luther's prayer from the Catechism:
How is God's name kept holy?
God's name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God's Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!
This is exactly what we pray about in this petition!

pr. Wilken spoke of this often on Issues, Etc.

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