Far more than some realize, there is danger of making the Christian faith seem so complicated that it is not understood by laymen; or, it may be so attenuated as to become practically devoid of spiritual and practical content.
Many ministers, intrigued with the craftsmanship of preaching, unconsciously project their messages over the heads of their congregations. Others, particularly in their writing, keep the theologically elect in mind and write primarily to them. But when others, remembering the man in the street, express Christian truth in non-technical terms they are sometimes accused of an oversimplification of the Gospel.
It would prove a blessing to all concerned if it were recognized that the ordinary layman—the man in the office, in the shop, in the everyday pressures of work—needs a Christian faith which is vital but simple, concise but accurate, factual but practical.
One justified criticism of much of modern preaching is its failure to be specific. This can stem from taking too much for granted—assuming that those who listen are believers and instructed Christians. Again it can be a deliberate evasion of crucial theological truth. In either case it is the laymen who suffer, and through them the entire Church.
Unquestionably we who make up the congregations across the world need to know our duties as Christians, both as to personal living and corporate responsibilities. But it does little good to tell us what to do unless we have the power to carry out such responsibilities and that power is found in the living Christ. We need to know more about Him.
Christian ethics are desperately important, for only too often we belie our faith by the way we live and speak. But, it must never be forgotten that there can be no effective ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more