Have We Forgotten the “Foolishness of Preaching?”

When does the climb for deeper teaching become dangerous?

I sat over espresso with a friend this summer. Being passionate about such things, we talked about churches.

He'd just come from a conversation with a mutual friend, the lead pastor of a rural Midwest congregation. The topic of preaching had come up. He'd asked his friend what the goal of his preaching was. After a moment of thought, the pastor replied: "My goal in preaching is for my church to understand the meaning of the text."

We sipped our drinks and picked at the statement a little. To understand the meaning of the text. A good goal. But is it enough? After all, a congregant can understand the text and remain aloof, untouched by the Spirit, disengaged, unchanged, hard of heart.

A listener could get big-headed if a preacher stopped at "understanding the text" … with the same puffy cerebellum that can lead to porch-chair critiques of another man's ministry philosophy.

And there's the rub, Paul, a voice said inside. There's something wrong about it, but it's in you, too.

Bible students ...

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.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Inviting critique can make you a better preacher.
From the Magazine
Racial Reconciliation Is Still a Dream for Atlanta Christians
Racial Reconciliation Is Still a Dream for Atlanta Christians
But church leaders think it’s worth the work to address longstanding divides.
Editor's Pick
The State of Preaching
The State of Preaching
A look inside our fall special issue.