Are Sermons Destroying Christianity?
I don’t think Christianity is being destroyed. I also don’t think that boring, unsubstantiated sermons have much positive (Slothboy just notices that it is snowing through his text as he types… impressive.) impact on the spiritual lives of churchgoers. But for new believers sermons are very important, because they have never heard some of this information before. The message given is an opportunity to reach people and help them to expand their thinking.
I do think they need to be more challenging. I have had pastors that really try to address some tough FAQs, and I have had pastors that just tell me “God is Love” over and over in various ways. It has to be hard to essentially write a speech every week, but that’s why not everyone is called to be a pastor. So what’s in a good sermon? I dunno, let’s make a list. None of these are probably in every sermon but they are good things to have.
1. Scriptural Foundation
2. Reinforcement of basic concepts
3. Clear direction and purpose (focus)
4. Call to action
What else? One of the best messages I ever heard started with the question “Do you think everything in the Bible is Literal?” A challenging concept but an important question for people to answer. Another good lesson I had, this time from a prof at Fox, started with asking all the girls in class with tattoos to raise their hands and then he shouted “WHORES!” (This was done comically and the ultimate point was about how our perceptions change over time to the point where the commonly accepted eventually becomes ridiculous and how we should use that to approach Biblical understanding.)
I might lump 2 and 3 together and add:
I read the article, and as I was reading it, I found myself saying “NO!” and then also saying “YES!”. So I guess I don’t know completely what to make of it. I do tend to agree that we have failed in our search (or just failed to search) for great discipleship methods all too often, and have instead settled for the easiest options. We do, as a whole, need to think long and hard about what it would look like to most effectively bring people to maturity in Christ, and then we need to make the needed sacrifices and do the hard work to make that happen. It’s just too important to overlook. Whatever the case, thanks for the link to the article. The residual thoughts have been rolling around in my brain for the last few days.
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