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Ten Pitfalls In Contemporary Reformed Preaching (Andrew Webb)

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This list is from a longer post, but seems to sum up a lot of concerns I hear around our denomination in Australia.
And some of them strike a bit painfully close to home.
(For me, points 1, 6 and 7, particularly.)
We want minds informed and hearts set on fire. Both/and, nor either/or.

Primary Problems in Modern Reformed Preaching:

  1. There is far too little emphasis on connecting with the hearers.
  2. Too many of our sermons are actually theological lectures, and our aim is usually to inform the mind rather than melt the heart.
  3. Instead of an emphasis on impressing the audience with our personality via entertainment, our emphasis is on impressing the audience with our erudition via teaching. We want them to go away thinking, “Wow! I never knew that word had such an amazing semantic range in the original Greek. What a teacher our pastor is!”
  4. We tend to make our hearers do too much of the work, and far too many of our sermons are actually unintelligible to non-Christians
  5. We often forget that our preaching should have the same end as John’s telic note in John 20:31 – ” but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
  6. We eschew Finney’s idea that conversion is the result of “the right use of means” but are sometimes stunningly unsupernatural in our own view of preaching. Instead of conversion being a supernatural work of the Spirit that must be fervently prayed for, we make it the result of the right understanding of information correctly imparted and received. Small wonder that so many of our listeners can explain theological doctrines but have no clue what Christ was really asking Peter in John 21:15-17.
  7. We often act as though it doesn’t matter how good a communicator the pastor is and don’t see being stunningly boring as a problem. Sometimes we even view being uninteresting as a badge of honor, as though boring was the opposite of ear tickling.
  8. Secretly, we also don’t want to upset our hearers, so the majority of our convicting fire is directed towards the sins found outside the church rather than within it.
  9. Often the majority of our preaching follows the via negativa, we spend our time telling people what we are against, but not what we are for.
  10. As a result what we too often create is “Fortress Church” – a dwindling and unapproachable bastion of the saints – and then wonder why no one from the world is coming to visit us.

Read the whole post here.

One thought on “Ten Pitfalls In Contemporary Reformed Preaching (Andrew Webb)

  1. Andrew Webb, that’s a stunning summary, all right! I’m looking forward to the “ten correctives”

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