Jump directly to the Content

DANGERS IN ILLUSTRATING SERMONS

The pastor of stern countenance began his sermon by saying solemnly, "I am not here to entertain you with a lot of interesting stories; I am here to preach the Word of God."

He proved to be prophetic. He was neither entertaining nor interesting. As a matter of fact, he was quite dull. Like so many who lack the imagination to use good illustrations, he condemned their use as a vice, their nonuse as a virtue.

In vilifying the use of stories in preaching, he was unwittingly criticizing a style used most frequently by a well-known itinerate of the first century. Evidently no one ever warned that former carpenter it was a sin to be entertaining and that solemnity was a sign of sanctity. Having never been to seminary, he never mastered alliteration either.

So he resorted to the only style he knew, which was to relate homey, human-interest stories-what we call parables. He told stories about families, farmers, fishermen, and financiers. Some of his stories were quite humorous. There was the one ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

May/June
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Standing in the Crossfire
Standing in the Crossfire
Lead your church through conflict and reconciliation.
From the Magazine
I Plant Secret House Churches Because I Was Saved into One
I Plant Secret House Churches Because I Was Saved into One
How an Iranian teenager found Christ and launched a mission to equip persecuted believers.
Editor's Pick
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Interview
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Matthew D. Kim believes addressing pain is part of a preacher’s calling.
close