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Preaching Through Controversy

THIS PAST SUMMER MY FAMILY ATTENDED a Christian family conference hosted by the radio ministry of a well-known American pastor. Over the years I have enjoyed listening to him preach countless sermons, both in person and by audiotape. I have profited spiritually from his exposition of the Scriptures.

During one message at the conference, he illustrated from his life. That was no surprise, for it was fairly common for him to insert personal anecdotes into his sermons. Frequently these stories were of the rubber-meets-the-road variety of family-life events. This, however, was different. A hush came over the audience as he told his story.

The story was about a soul-wrenching conflict that had affected his entire family. But it wasn't the details of the story that gripped me—in fact, the details were purposely vague because of the intensely personal nature of the pain. The impact came not from what he said, but from what he was unable to say.

His story did not have a conclusion; he and his family ...

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