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Opening Closed Minds

When you address controversial issues today, you can irritate or influence, but not both.

Sometimes God calls us to preach to our people a timely and important word—a word that is challenging and perhaps difficult to receive. In seminary we called this "prophetic preaching." We looked to the Old Testament prophets as our example—courageous and willing to speak the hard words of criticism as they preached against the sins of injustice, unfaithfulness, and idolatry that had infiltrated God's people in their day.

More recently I have watched pastors, who were quite proud of their "prophetic ministry," drive churches right into the ground. Or, if they did not drive the church into the ground, they succeeded in driving away everyone who disagreed with them, attracting only the like-minded to their church. What they did not manage to do, unfortunately, was to actually influence anyone to change.

Having sought to deliver those kinds of messages with some regularity at Church of the Resurrection, I would like to offer some insights gained through both my successes and failures. Maybe ...

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