It’s time for a homiletical reboot

•October 30, 2019 • 1 Comment

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Homiletics:  The art of writing and preaching sermons.

I’ve been preaching for 30 years.  I’ve read hundreds of books on preaching.  I’ve attended dozens of seminars and conferences on preaching.  I’ve preached good sermons and bad sermons. So…I’ve earned the right to say the following things. 

And since preaching in America is probably at its lowest point ever…

Stop proof texting.   Learn to apply the proven principles of hermeneutics to every text.  Keep every text in its context.  STOP manipulating Scripture to make it say what you want it to say.

Stop using so many illustrations.  Usually people only remember the story and not the POINT of the story.

Stop using so many personal stories.    Honestly, no one is THAT interested in your life.  Also, just because God does something a certain way in your life doesn’t mean he will do it the same way in another person’s life.

Stop preaching on so many current events.  Our text is the Bible, not secular media.  Sometimes, yes.  A lot, no.

Stop preaching on movies.  If your congregation wants a movie, they can go to a theater.  It’s not your job to interpret a film … it’s your JOB to correctly interpret the Scriptures.

Stop spiritualizing the text.  Don’t invent secret codes, hidden meanings, and numerologies.  They are not there … and you don’t have a secret decoder ring that can make sense out of it.

Stop reading yourself into every text.  Away with this silly narcigetical and eisegetical preaching.  Every text is NOT about you.  Believe it or not, most Scriptural texts are about JESUS.

The above described preaching has filled most American pulpits for about 30 years now.  The result?  Congregations that don’t know the Bible (preachers that don’t the Bible or how to interpret it!), powerless pulpits, powerless pews, a powerless Gospel and powerless churches.

It’s time for a homiletical reboot.

Goodbye Southern Baptist Convention

•October 29, 2019 • 2 Comments

Disclaimer:  I was a gung-ho, fully invested Southern Baptist (SBC) for many years.  My Masters of Divinity Degree is from a Southern Baptist institution.  However, I walked away from it years ago.  Hence, this short blog about recent SBC leanings.

The SBC has adopted Critical Race Theory and Social Progressivism.  I’m not even going to elaborate on that.

Southeastern Baptist Theological seminary has just hired Karen Swallow Prior as a research professor.   Again, I’m not even going to elaborate on that.

The SBC has long endorsed the eisegetical and narcissistic teachings of Beth Moore.  Again, I’m not going to elaborate on this…but have you heard her “preach” or read her Twitter posts lately?

Recent high profile SBC leaders (Jack Graham, Robert Jeffress, along with heretical prosperity preachers like T.D. Jakes) have endorsed Paula White’s new book.  Paula White is an heretical, Scripture-twisting, prosperity gospel “preacher” in the same vein as T. D. Jakes, Jentezen Franklin, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Christine Caine and others.  None of whom hold to biblical and orthodox views of salvation by grace alone and cessationism.

I won’t even elaborate on the millions of dollars the SBC has wasted over the years (much like our government) on high-dollar SBC employee salaries and multi-million dollar buildings.

I am elated to see that many strong, Bible-based, churches are departing the SBC because they realize it has been lost and will not be recovered.

I KNOW there are many good people in the SBC who love Jesus and are committed to his kingdom.  But it’s time to realize the connection to false teaching equals confirmation of false teaching.

You may disagree…and that’s your right.  But if you want to debate, please come at me with an open Bible and about four hours.

 

 

Paul’s Pastoral Advice

•October 21, 2019 • Leave a Comment

The Apostle Paul wrote two letters to young Timothy who was the pastor at the church at Ephesus.  Along with the book of Titus, we call these three letters the Pastoral Epistles.

In them, Paul never tells Pastor Timothy to lead the church to have vision, set goals, meet perceived needs, grow financially, be culturally relevant, or seeker-sensitive.

These are all the things church growth consultants have been telling churches to do for the last 30 years…and how most church-plant pastors “build” churches these days.  And the American church is in a mess for it.

In strong language, Paul told Timothy to …

  1.  Preach the Gospel.
  2.  Pastor his congregation.
  3.  Protect his congregation from heretical teaching.

Perhaps we  pastors should return to Paul’s advice for pastors.

 

A God you can understand?

•August 12, 2019 • 3 Comments

It is a theologian’s task to read, study, and interpret the Scriptures.  However, any honest theologian will tell you that there are things in the Bible that “stump” us.

When we come against the un-understandable in Scripture, we simply put our trust in the God who is trustworthy, righteous, and just.  God cannot be wrong because of who he is … if he can be wrong about any decree or decision, then he is not God.

Yet many people want to question God’s decrees and decisions.  It’s because they don’t know the God of the Bible and they don’t know the God of the Bible because they don’t read the Bible.

The only way to have an uncorrupted view of God is to go to an uncorrupted source … the Bible.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

A God you can completely understand is not a god worth having.

 

PROSPERITY PERVERSITY

•June 3, 2019 • 1 Comment

This video of Prosperity Pimp Kenneth Copeland reveals so much.

  1. Copeland’s use of “lady”, “sweetheart”, “babe”, and “you have pretty eyes” is so condescending to this female reporter.
  2. At one point, Copeland aggressively leans over the door and gets in this reporter’s face.
  3. The Abrahamic Covenant does not include riches for us.  We are not under the Abrahamic Covenant anyway.  Christians are under the New Covenant provided by Jesus Christ.
  4. Copeland says he can’t prepare to preach while around “common people.  As a preacher myself, being around everyday people living everyday lives & experiencing everyday problems enables (along with the study of Scripture) me to preach better.
  5. Copeland and others of his ilk twist (and twist and twist) Scriptures to say what they want them to say concerning healing and wealth.  They never apply basic hermeneutical principles that seasoned and respected theologians use to interpret Scripture.
  6. And, yes, I’m sorry…but he’s just creepy.

Be assured:  the Prosperity Gospel is an oxymoron.  It is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is not a form of Christianity that we should just excuse with “Well, he talks about Jesus”.

The Prosperity Gospel is dangerous, unbiblical, and only makes rich the ones who preach it.

I’m WORTHY of Christ’s Crucifixion? Really?

•April 19, 2019 • 1 Comment

On this Good Friday I’m seeing social media posts and memes telling us that Christ died on the Cross because he saw something in me/us that was WORTH his death.  I.E You were worth dying for, Love, Jesus.

Seems like that’s always been a theme when discussing the Crucifixion of Christ – that Christ saw something in  me WORTH giving his life for.  Really?

A. The Bible describes me as a lost, rebellious, blind, dead sinner who had no use for God whatsoever – actually describing me as an enemy of God.  Scripture tells me that I was under the judgment, condemnation, and wrath of almighty God and that God had every intention of meting out that wrath on me.  The Bible (in a spiritual sense) does not describe me of being WORTHY of anything but the wrath of God.

B. To say that I am in any sense worthy, or possess in myself any trait that God would deem redeemable so as to place his Son on the Cross for me indicates that there is something good in me.  If that is so, then my salvation becomes based on MY works and my innate goodness…not his grace and mercy.

While this sounds like a trite matter…it isn’t.  It is the core of the Gospel.  It is the difference between Law and grace, works and faith, performance and forgiveness, Old Testament and New Testament.

It is just hard for human beings to accept what Scripture says about us and believe that there is absolutely no good in us.  It is difficult for us to lay down our pride.

Romans 5:6 states, You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  We are described as powerless and ungodly (not worth anything in anyway) yet Christ died for us.  THAT is what should make the Crucifixion overwhelming to us – that Christ willingly died for UNWORTHY sinners.

Let’s get our conversation biblically correct about these matters.

Even preachers.

Contemporary Christian Music

•January 24, 2019 • 1 Comment

Disclaimers:

1) I don’t believe all new Christian music is bad/good…not all old Christian music is bad/good.

2) I’m a musician that loves music of all kinds … rock n roll, blues, old country, old bluegrass, (a little) Southern Gospel, hymns, contemporary Christian, and classical.

3)  I’ve never written a song but can imagine how difficult it can be.

4)   I know and understand how difficult it is to find good music to sing in church.

I just want to point out the fact that much of our Contemporary Christian Music is short on good theology.  It’s more me-centered than Christ-centered.  Much of it is too ethereal and spacey.  There are several churches that write, produce, and sell this type of music – I shall leave them nameless but in a recent research paper, the words of  E.H. McIntyre could be said about most of the music coming from these churches into smaller churches and conferences all around the world….

“Amid current competing ideologies and priorities, __________ Music has found a formula that fuses aspects of secular consumerism and individualism with Pentecostal religious fervor.  (We should) examine the ways __________Music is used to constitute religious experience and how religious experience is (re)packaged and sold by the lucrative __________ Music label.”  (E.H. McIntyre)

Note the words “fuses … consumerism and individualism”.  This musical message is sung, then, in most cases, it is followed by a sermon on just those two things – consumerism and individualism.

Compare the words of this hymn  (Praise my soul, the King of  Heaven) with some of the lyrics you hear today …

  1. Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
    To His feet thy tribute bring.
    Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
    Evermore His praises sing:
    Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
    Praise the everlasting King.
  2. Praise Him for His grace and favor
    To our fathers in distress;
    Praise Him still the same as ever,
    Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
    Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
    Glorious in His faithfulness.
  3. Father-like He tends and spares us,
    Well our feeble frame He knows;
    In His hands He gently bears us,
    Rescues us from all our foes.
    Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
    Widely yet His mercy flows.
  4. Frail as summer’s flow’r we flourish,
    Blows the wind and it is gone;
    But while mortals rise and perish,
    Our God lives unchanging on.
    Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
    Praise the high Eternal One!
  5. Angels, help us to adore Him,
    Ye behold Him face to face;
    Sun and moon, bow down before Him;
    Dwellers all in time and space,
    Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
    Praise with us the God of grace.

Those are lyrics you can sink your theological teeth into.

I’m not advocating that we all start singing nothing but hymns again .  The church I pastor uses Christian Contemporary Music along with an occasional hymn.  I’m just encouraging us to read, understand, and be aware of the lyrics we’re singing.   Make sure they are biblical, Christ-focused, and Christ-honoring.

That’s all.

 
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