Preaching is an incredibly presumptuous task, as it is uttering words that by the power of the Spirit become the words of God who is our Creator, Judge, and Redeemer. Preaching is possible only as the preacher is identified by all who hear. The renewal of the church will come with the recovery of the sermon that is not moral advice or political rhetoric or personal therapy or entertainment but the means of God’s grace to forgive and sanctify, to heal and to fortify human hearts for the great crises and challenges of life.
-John Leith, The Reformed Imperative: What the Church Has to Say That No One Else Can Say
2 Replies to “Presumptuous preaching”
While this short blog provides meaningful quotes, the real meat is in the related articles.
Initiatives in our Presbytery have been well intended, but hard wired to failure, because they rely on the pitfalls articulated in these articles. We need some common sense to prevail. And we need to understand the difference between the church, business, and academy.
A few days ago (at daily Mass, perhaps), I heard someone say that the Gospel is never about “somebody else” or “those people over there”-it always has something fresh and relevant to say to us in our current situations. I like that a lot. I like when something is put into my lap and I have to deal with it, rather than ascribed to “those people over there”. When I get to be smug and assume that “those people” are the ones who need conversion, then I am being lazy and closed to growth. I’m more than happy to hear preaching which includes “moral advice…personal therapy or entertainment” but that can never be its purpose or its main thrust.