From T. David Gordon’s Book, Why Johnny Can’t Preach; The Media Have Shaped the Messengers (pgs. 75-76, 88-89).
Faith is not built by preaching introspectively (constantly challenging people to question whether they have faith); faith is not built by preaching moralistically (which has exactly the opposite effect of focusing attention on the self rather than on Christ, in whom our faith is placed); faith is not built by joining the culture wars and taking potshots at what is wrong with our culture. Faith is built by careful, thorough exposition of the person, character, and work of Christ….
We feed on Christ himself, and we do so not by some physical eating of his body, but through faith in the Christ proclaimed in Word and sacrament. These four alternatives [moralism, how-to, introspection, and social gospel] have left much of the evangelical and Reformed church malnourished. People know what they ought to do, but they are dispirited and lethargic, without the vision, drive, or impetus to live with and for Christ. And the reason for this dispirited condition is that the pulpit is largely silent about Christ. He is mentioned only as an afterthought or appendage to a sermon; in many churches, he is never proclaimed as the central point of a sermon, and surely not on a regular, weekly basis.
Now I don’t elevate ordinances as much as Gordon would (for instance, don’t call them sacraments), but do recognize their importance in church life. I can say I’ve been in services, and have listened to sermons that would be guilty of what Gordon describes. I am sure I’ve been guilty of preaching sermons like this.
Do you see this as a problem? Perhaps not in your church I’m sure, but evangelicalism at large?
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