Jump directly to the Content

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.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

To Quote
To Quote
From the Magazine
No One Took Christ Out of Christmas
No One Took Christ Out of Christmas
Let’s dispense with our worries that Christmas as we know it isn’t Christian.
Editor's Pick
The Worst (and Best) Passage for Generosity Sermons
The Worst (and Best) Passage for Generosity Sermons
The widow’s mite story is about more than her sacrificial giving.