1.23.2006

Boring preachers

Internet Monk:

"First... the Biblical story is going to be boring to those who are not spiritually enlivened to its truth. This is expected. It is a given. Second, as proclaimers of the Gospel, we should use legitimate measures and means to make message as interesting as possible without obscuring either the Biblical message or rejecting the Biblical method.

"In other words, while the Gospel isn’t entertainment, a boring preacher is probably a lazy preacher or a stubborn preacher. It may be unavoidable to bore the audience in some measure, but it is not something that should be accepted without doing all we can to make what we do say clear, urgent, genuine, personal and real. Work at not being boring, but don’t go off the deep end trying to avoid it....

"The entertainment culture in which we live cannot become the standard for what is good preaching. Jesus was a master communicator, but he didn’t try to outdo the theater productions at Sepphoris. In the same way, we should refuse to compete with the secular entertainment media for the attention of people. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” “If they refuse to hear you, shake the dust off your feet and move on.” These are the words of Jesus....

"We live in a culture that finds everything boring eventually. The Gospel is timeless, not entertaining. It is true, not trendy. It has depth, not just overnight ratings. It is God’s word to all of us, told in the story of Jesus. While sermons will always be boring to someone, we dare not find that God has been bored with our attempts to become entertainers rather than heralds and proclaimers."

2 comments:

  1. JR de Witt's advice to me (probably passed on from Henry Bast): It is no sin to be interesting.

    So much preaching today is so very boring, not, I think, from lack of trying to be relevant, using "hip" illustrations, etc., but because there is no seriousness or urgency to the message.

    This is not a liberal/conservative issue, but holds true, I think, across the board. Duncan Littlefair was a superb preacher who denied the existence of God. Still, he was spellbinding as an orator. You can still hear some of his sermons at the Fountain Street website. The content is repellent, but the intellect and energy are staggering.

    Grand Rapids was once known for legendary preachers, and not just of the Reformed stripe. In the Reformed camp, there were Gordon Girod, WC Lamain, Henry Bast, Jerome De Jong, Leonard Greenway, Russ Horton, Jacob Eppinga, and Charles Krahe (though I think de Witt outstrips them all, but that may be personal preference). Today, I think that Joel Beeke is probably the last of that particular breed. What did those men have that is lacking in today's preaching?

    So, what is missing from modern preaching? I would argue unction (ala Lloyd-Jones in Preachers and Preaching), intellect, and, as the imonk has said, pure laziness!

    I see it in myself, and much of this is self-indictment, as much as an indictment of modern preaching.

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  2. Oh, and I forgot to list Herman Hoeksema among the towering intellects and preachers! Again, some of the content is questionable at best, but the mind and oratory are unparalleled.

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