Friday, August 5, 2011

Avoid "other peoples sins"

One problem that I hear in many preaching ministries is the disease of "other peoples sins". Speaking to a bunch of Australians, we will talk about how Americans get it all wrong. Speaking to a group of teetotallers, we will bemoan the sins of alcoholics, and so on. The preacher justifies this as 'warning his flock', and sometimes this is appropriate. But often the flock is in no danger of falling into these sins. It is simply easier for the preacher to take a cheap shot. The congregation will see him as 'challenging' and 'hardhitting', while at the same time being inoculated into the comfortable thought that sin is everyone else's problem. As a preacher, you have a job, and that job is preaching Christ to whoever is in front of you. However smooth or hardhitting your sermon is, if it isn't addressing the congregation in front of you, you are wasting their time and yours.

* Can I just note that I wrote and scheduled this post well before I went to the Ministry Training and Development conference last week. Though those who were there may notice some similarities to this post. Certainly in my discussions with people after the various talks, the sociological observation (inoculated into thinking sin is everyone else's problem) rang true. Now, I agreed with pretty much all of the critique of charismatic theology. But you have to ask the question, so what? ( that said, his stuff on love as the mark of true spirituality was hot, and could have been developed and poked further). But as it was, I fear many at the conference will think the point of 1 Corinthians 12-14 is "the pentecostals are wrong", rather than, "I need to love my brothers and sisters more". I hope I am wrong in this assesment.


Anonymous said...

did it sound a bit like clanging symbals?

Mike W said...

Well, no, because I think it was said with genuine love.
It''s just what it does over a longer period of time

byron smith said...

often the flock is in no danger of falling into these sins.
Preachers always see their flocks as being in imminent danger of falling into the sins for which they have the best commentary.