Yesterday we listed five pseudo-preaching roles that people fall into. Let’s finish the list and in doing so remember that to preach the Bible is to speak God’s Word into the lives of contemporary hearers. So we already considered advice dispenser, public entertainer, time filler, worship balancer, and life coach. Furthermore, preacher, you are not supposed to be:
6. Guilt Giver – It is a generations-old tradition. Selectively quote, misread your passage, partially preach the text. Pound the pulpit, point the finger, induce guilt at every opportunity. After all, waiting for God to touch hearts and change lives can feel like a slow process. So why not hurry it up by coercing people through guilt? Don’t shortcut. Preach the Word.
7. Revelation Provider – The Bible, to some, seems to feel so passe, so old-school, so done. Much more exciting to seek to always offer new revelation. In some circles this is about fresh “thus saith the Lord” declarations, in others this is done surreptitiously through the “I prayed about this and God gave me…” If He truly did, great, give it to us. Yet the preacher has a lifetime of wonderful objective truth to expound. Preach the Word.
8. Exegetical Innovator – Along similar lines, when you are looking at the Bible your job is not to see something new. You don’t have to find obscure little references in Chronicles, nor do you have to see something nobody has ever seen before in Psalm 23 or Romans. This tends to lead into subjective typology and fanciful interpretations. Be faithful. The freshness is still there. Preach the Word.
9. Societal Commentator – Oh it is inevitable that we do speak about and into the contemporary state of society. But that is not our main job. Instead of waxing forth on societal ills, speak to the people listening. They need to hear from God’s Word. If your main aspiration is to be a commentator, write for the local paper. If you are going to preach, preach the Word.
10. Rhetorical Artist – Maybe you’ve noticed how many contemporary preachers have become so “natural” in delivery style. Surely something is being lost. Don’t descend into maintaining earlier generational styles of hyper-alliteration, tongue-rolling flourishes, affected vocal delivery and wooden gestures deemed appropriate only for preaching. Preach the Word.
What would you add to this list?