Page 8 - October 2020 - Truth & Tidings
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oday’s wisdom on preaching      three commandments on preaching, and
              is “Don’t do it. But if you must   then, listen carefully to see if it will say
        Tpreach, don’t preach the Bible. And   too much.
        if you must preach the Bible, at least don’t   THOU SHALT NOT PREACH
        preach the cross.” This wisdom is not a   “I don’t want to be preachy.” “I’m not
        modern innovation and its promoters are   trying to preach at you.” Such statements
        not always irreligious. Israel’s high priest   are as revealing as they are commonplace.
        himself became its spokesperson when he
        said to Peter and the apostles: “We gave   They indicate that we all know preaching
        you the strictest possible orders not to give   is something we’re not supposed to do.
        any teaching in this name.” 1         “Morality and religion are purely private
          Can I be honest and confess that    matters,” modern wisdom explains, “and
        sometimes such “wisdom” gets to me?   no one should try to impose his or her
                                              beliefs on another.” Oops! How quickly
        One day I dropped in to a firm to visit an
        engineer I used to work with. Something   this wisdom falls prey to overspeak, for to
        about the way she asked me – in a     insist that people should not impose their
        loud and laughing voice in front of the   beliefs is to be guilty of that very thing.
        receptionist – if I was  still doing the   Others object not to the nature of
        preaching thing at church made me turn   preaching  but  to  its  form.  Given  our
        red. For a moment the preaching of the   media-saturated culture and advances
        cross seemed, well, foolish.          in knowledge of learning styles, isn’t it
          But  sometimes  the  promoters  of   obvious that the day of the monologue
        conventional wisdom overspeak. Take   sermon  is  over?  Such  one-way
        the high priest, for instance. Had he said,   communication is passé. We need to use
        “We gave you the strictest possible orders   forms of communication marked more by
        not to give any teaching in this name,”   conversation and dialogue.
        and then stopped, the effect might have   Again, before turning in future articles
        been striking. But he said too much when   to what Scripture says to this objection,
        he added, “And look what has happened   let’s look no further than the world we live
        – you have filled Jerusalem with your   in and see that it simply isn’t true. Jordan
        teaching.” Oops! By his own admission   Peterson is selling out theatres to people
        Peter’s preaching was powerful indeed.  who are paying to sit through two-hour-
          Ultimately, it’s Scripture alone that can   long monologue lectures. When uploaded
        supply the courage we need to step up   to YouTube, these lectures get millions of
        to the microphone. But in this first article   views. Less controversially, consider the
        we hand the mic to conventional wisdom.   popularity of TED talks. As Tim Keller
        Let’s ask this wisdom to restate its top   says, “The sermon form is not dead, and
        ¹ Acts 5:28. This and the next quotation are from   many predictions of preaching’s imminent
        J.B. Phillips’ translation.           demise now feel dated.”

        296 TRUTH kTidings   October  2020
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