In a culture that is as committed to the Sunday roast dinner as it is to complaining, it isn’t surprising that people here talk about having Roast Preacher for dinner! But as parents we are sensitive to the presence of children at our dinner table (and for the record, the absence of roast dinners on a Sunday – all who manage that feat on a Sunday are borderline miracle workers in our opinion!) So how to discuss the sermon with the family present? I like three questions used by the author of the book I’m not naming until next week. I think we should try these:
1. What was the point or thrust of the sermon?
2. Was this point adequately established in the text that was read?
3. Were the applications legitimate applications of the point?
If the main point was not clear, then it will be interesting to determine together what the sum total, bottom line, distilled main idea actually was from our perspective. (Preachers note this, if you don’t make your main point clear, others will be guessing or dismissing, and neither is good!)
If the main point was not established in the text, then we have two paths ahead of us. One would be to guess where the main point actually did come from (danger of psycho-analysis with children present). The more productive path would be to look at the text again and determine what the main point actually is in the text. (Preachers note this, most people will not automatically go back to the text and hunt down a statement of the main point of it. They will either accept what you said, or they will ignore and move on – neither is a good result.)
If the applications were not legitimate applications of the point, then again we have a couple of options. One would be to trace out both the roots and the fruits of the false applications . . . which would hopefully lead to other Bible study and application of other biblical truth. Or it might lead to spotting false agenda and considering the long-term fruit of sub-gospel preaching. Depends on the sermon, I suppose. The other option would be to chase more legitimate applications of the teaching of the text read. (Preachers note this, most people either buy what you say or ignore it. You probably get the pattern here by now.)
So let’s say we end up chasing down the legitimate applications of the actual main point of a text, having heard a disunited message that failed to establish its main point in the text read or provide legitimate applications. I suspect we’d be a very rare family if we managed that over our Sunday lunch. Preachers note this – these three questions are not unfair, let’s be sure people can answer them easily and in the affirmative.