The tone of our preaching is so important. Yet this is a balancing act. Seven “tones” to balance in biblical preaching:
1. Serious yet joyful – We handle the most serious of content in the most serious of circumstances. Yet we have more reason than any to have joy. It isn’t right for a biblical preacher to come across as flippant and silly, but neither is it right to come across as sombre and melancholic.
2. Textual yet relevant – We preach as inhabitants of two worlds: the world of the inspired text and the world of our listeners. It is possible for our tone to be too much in one or the other and for our preaching to be undermined as a result.
3. Contemporary yet genuine – We preach as fellow humans in the present situation. It is incarnational to not come across as a prophet who has been locked in a victorian time capsule. Yet we need to be genuine in this, no good pretending to be contemporary in ways we are not, people see through that.
4. Authentic yet appropriate – In a culture that increasingly craves authentic communicators, we must show the real us when we speak. Listeners don’t connect with plastic preachers. Yet we must be appropriate in what we share. Sometimes too much information undoes everything around it.
5. Welcoming yet exclusive – We preach as those who represent the welcoming spreading graciousness of Christ, yet as those who stand with Him in His claim to absolute exclusivity. We can’t be welcoming in a way that offers hope to those on a hopeless path.
6. Warm yet warning – We preach as ambassadors for Christ. He wasn’t stone cold like some preachers are, Christ was compelling and warm. Yet the self-righteous found Christ to be one who warned, rather than warmed them.
7. Winsome yet real – Maybe this has been covered already, but let me reinforce it. We speak as representatives of a God who seeks to woo the wounded. Our preaching tone should be winsome and Christlike, but that won’t work if it is mere catchphrases that aren’t supported by a deeply stirred reality.
2 thoughts on “7 Tone Balances”
I remember listening to lectures given by Sinclair Ferguson on Hell and Universal Salvation. Despite the solemnity of his message, he spoke with such winsome passion, firm but very gentle. It was incredible to hear!