We need to revitalize preaching. Mass media is competing with us for the attention of our congregations. Our challenge is to make preaching effective once more. People are asking, Is the Bible true? How does it affect me? Does the minister really know what he’s talking about? Seminaries have tended to relegate homiletics courses to the “nonscholastic” part of the curriculum. Preachers, not professors, teach them.

Not that we haven’t preached “to the ends of the earth”—from the Washington Monument, the White House, football fields, as well as via satellite. Still, too many people find Eutychus a kindred spirit. They either snooze through the sermon or put their minds into neutral.

Why is preaching ineffective? Some people blame it on the lecture method of preaching. The congregation never gets to react immediately to the sermon. Others blame the dogmatic style of preachers. Or, they blame the language ministers use—theological jargon, terms, and references that, they claim, only interest and make sense to seminarians or other pastors. John Killinger in The Centrality of Preaching in the Total Task of the Ministry wrote, “People are not tired of preaching but of non-preaching, of badly garbled, irrelevant drivel that has in so many places passed for preaching because there was no real preaching to measure it against” (Word, 1969, p. 21).

We have imported the idioms of the world into our music, programming, finances, fellowship, and preaching. Preachers quote poets or novelists rather than Scripture. We play down the great scriptural truths about man and his sins. We don’t declare the dichotomy that exists between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God. ...

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