Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Role of Preaching

Fr. Matt Kennedy presented his thoughts on the role of preaching HERE. Fr. Kennedy is a former (guess the denomination) priest at a former (guess the denomination) church. After reading his blog, do you have any idea why he might not fit in as a (guess the denomination) priest? Read for example,

"Biblically speaking, a sermon is not a speech, lecture or motivational talk.

Rather it is an exposition and application of scripture. Read Paul's charge to Timothy:"
'But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.'(2 Tim 3:14-17)

..."It is a dereliction of duty not to preach from the scriptures in such a way that the necessity of repentance and reconciliation is made clear. When God's call to all men and women to repent and surrender to Christ is hidden behind comforting words that provide false salves to the conscience and superficially alleviate the tension between biblical truth and cultural norms, souls are endangered. What a terrible thing to send a congregation home hyped up on motivational platitudes without a hint that there is a judgment to come and that apart from Christ none can stand in it.

..."At the same time, we should not depart regularly feeling condemned. While the sermon opens the Word of God and that necessarily leads to conviction from time to time, it also brings comfort and encouragement and assurance. Not only are we forgiven sinners, but in Christ, we are beloved children of God. We are heirs to the world. We have no reason to hang our heads in shame because our Lord has taken away all shame and guilt.

...There should then be a sense of eager anticipation as the bible is opened and the sermon begins...what treasures will God reveal? What comfort will he bring? What guidance or assurance will he give me this day? For every rebuke, there is also a promise of mercy and grace to all who seek it in Jesus Christ.

...The sermon is not a speech, lecture or motivational talk, done properly it is the means by which God communicates the desire of the bridegroom to the bride, Christ's will to his Church."

Whatcha think?

I think I need come back with a piece on "The Role of Listening in the Congo" (and not another one on Appreciative Inquiry)

Okay, was he formerly,

1. Roman Catholic
2. Greek Orthodox
3. Southern Baptist
4. Lutheran
5. Presbyterian
6. Episcopalian
7. Hindu

Fr. Kennedy is at the Church of the Good Shepherd Binghamton, NY.


  1. Unfortunately, preaching the necessity of repentance and reconciliation demands the acceptance of some moral sense of right and wrong. However, if there is no right or wrong, no black or white, no good or evil as the moral relativists would have you believe, then there is no need for repentance and reconciliation. For that matter, there really is no need for a Saviour, for each of us, in the context of making moral determinations, would be in position to save ourselves. So why not just let the churches push their social welfare programs, the MDGs or whatever, and sit back and enjoy the cheese doodles. Apparently, there is no good reason to preach the good news of salvation.

  2. "It is a dereliction of duty not to preach from the scriptures in such a way that the necessity of repentance and reconciliation is made clear. . ."

    That entire paragraph needs to chiseled in granite letters the size of those at the beginning of the movie El Cid and placed in the office of every pastor in every Christian denomination everywhere.


  3. Cato, R. Sherman, I agree. The words may be harsh, but I am reminded that Jesus tells me the Good News of salvation, and the bad news is that the way is through the Via Dolorosa to the cross.

    1. Would Unitarian Universalists disagree with Fr. Matt?

    2. Might the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church a closet Unitarian Universalist? (recent statement here)

    3. Would the PB disagree with Fr. Matt?