Is it possible to preach mystery in an age of information, hope in an era of skepticism, confidence in a time of doubt, truth in a climate of relativism? The ultimate question becomes, can we preach Christ in a postmodern world? My answer, of course, is yes. My suggestion is that it’s time to apologize for God.
This is Craig Loscalzo in his Apologetic Preaching, page 22. Strong stuff. In case you are worried by that last line, let me quote a bit more:
Far too many pulpits have been, for too long, apologizing – that is, making excuses – for God. Timid sermons that dismiss the sticky issues of Christian faith, sermons that water down the demands of the gospel, pabulum preaching pleasing to people’s ears but unable to offer transformed lives will be transparent to the skeptical lenses of postmodernity. . . . Apologizing for God means apologizing for God, not making apologies for God. In other words, it means making a case for the gospel in all its scandalous reality. Apologizing for God means rightfully reclaiming the apologetic role of the pulpit for the cause of Christian faith.
I agree with this. But I am also wary as I write this. I’m wary because too often it seems that a move toward apologetics is somehow a move toward theology, philosophy, academia, but somehow also a move away from the Bible. By no means! The Bible is inherently apologetic. Our apologetics are our attempts to speak for God into this world, but the Bible is God’s Word spoken into this world. Let us not feel stirred to our apologetic role and thereby drift even slightly from expository preaching. Preach the Word, God’s Word, preach it with an emphasis on its relevance to your listeners – so that the scandalous reality of the gospel can shine into darkness of the contemporary milieu!
One thought on “Preaching Apologetically”
I appreciate your blog post here. I happened upon it while doing a general blog search. I agree with you that people in the pews need to get the truth from the pulpits. And they don’t get it often enough. Good scholarship and contextual preaching is key to believers understanding the original text and how it applies to us today.
One thing I was thinking about though. I think preachers can stop being apologetic (as in apologizing) for God. He is Who He is. Also, believers would understand God better if they experienced God in a real and tangible way on a more regular basis. We have enough head knowledge to choke a horse. But often believers have very little experience with God Himself. We have seven different versions of the Bible in our house, but we can’t pray with faith and see things change. You see what I mean?
I appreciate your heart and desire to bring real preaching to the pulpits of the world.