Friday, September 5, 2008

Preaching "what we are"

At a conference years ago, the speaker talked about a pastor from a certain denomination who had the following outline:

1. Adam before the fall
2. Adam after the fall
3. A word about baptism

I will let you guess as to what denomination this pastor represented.

I have had the privilege of visiting many churches and, being a pastor myself. What I have found is that pastors "preach what they are." By that, I mean that my denominational slants tend to come through no matter where I teach from the Bible.

My denomination emphasizes the inerrancy of Scripture and applying the Bible to life. It is HARD not to end every message with the exhortation: "read your Bible more and apply it to your life."

My daughter attended a Christian liberal arts school in the Wesleyan tradition. Great school with the constant message: "be holy, seek perfection, don't lose what you have."

We now attend a Baptist church while awaiting our next assignment. I enjoy our church and I enjoy our pastor but it is HARD [if not impossible] for every message to NOT center around salvation of the lost.

Pentecostal/charismatic--Holy Spirit

Prosperity churches--well............prosperity and getting rich

Presbyterian--God's sovereignty [and I have found a subtle and not so subtle message of what I call "worm theology" whereby God's grace gets vacuumed up by total depravity].

I thought about each denomination looking at a passage of Scripture and preaching "what they are." The story of the Good Samaritan came to mind.

Baptist--the one who was in need needed someone to save him--are you saved?
Methodist--be holy enough to see a need and meet it--are you holy?
Presbyterian--look at God's sovereignty in protecting the one in need--are you trusting God [even though you are but a worm?].
Charismatic--allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life to meet needs--are you being guided by the Holy Spirit
Evangelical Free--look at how the Samaritan read the Bible and applied it to this need--are you reading your Bible and doing the same thing..............

We tend to "preach what we are." It is the tendency of pastors to do this and it is the make-up of people to gravitate toward this. I am not trying to suggest that this is necessarily wrong. I am merely pointing out what I have seen in.....

"my view from the pew."

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