Practical Vs Doctrinal – No Contest

I was just reading a little book by a famous seminary professor.  He referred to the thousands of chapel services he has sat through in his time.  The one thing that bothered him perhaps more than anything else was when a visiting speaker would say something along the lines of:

I am going to leave the theological instruction to your faculty here, but today I just want to be practical!

It is important to demonstrate the consistent link between the biblical/theological and the pastoral/practical.  We do our listeners a disservice when we imply a disconnect between the two.  People need to understand that the most theological or doctrinal passages in their Bible have real-life relevance to them.  People need to recognize that instruction purporting to be practical and relevant but lacking a solid biblical grounding is inherently weak.

It may sound like an understatement in English, but all Scripture is both God-breathed and useful.  Don’t give the impression that some sermons are biblical, exegetical, theological, doctrinal, while others are practical, pastoral, relevant and helpful.  Strive to demonstrate that both sides are really on the same side – there really is no contest.

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3 thoughts on “Practical Vs Doctrinal – No Contest

  1. Thank you for expressing this so clearly! It bugs me to hear preachers say that theology and doctrine are not practical. Any chance we can pool our money and splash this post on billboards across the western world?

  2. I agree with the post and with Nathan’s comment. I’m getting tired of preachers who apologize to their listeners because the “church” has wasted their time with doctrinal rather than practical sermons. They are not mutually exclusive!

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