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Cloud of Witnesses

In the past twenty years, the church has put its pastors in a double bind. The church says it's committed to local, Spirit-empowered, context-sensitive ministry—while becoming bedazzled by the great performances of Christian stars. The problem is rural as much as urban. Anyone who can tune in to a Christian radio station is now a homiletics professor.

I'm not all that bad a preacher, but I wonder sometimes why I shouldn't just show videos of preaching geniuses on Sunday morning. People say they believe in the local church and in the gifts of the Spirit, but sometimes I feel that if my gifts are not prodigious, they can't be productive.

The fault is not with great preachers or Christian radio or television. We, the church, are at fault.

In synch with our culture, we crave talent and genius, and disdain hard work and character. We are fascinated by the nature of Christian genius and are bored by the grace of the Christian gospel. Preaching conferences on delivery are ...

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