Friday, May 22, 2009

Pulpiteering with Integrity

Imagine you are doing a sermon that calls for you to be devoted to pray or evangelise, but you neither are devoted to prayer or evangelising. You are committed to the truth of these things, but the reality is that when it comes to doing these things, you are not much different to an unbeliever. It seems to me that you can do one of three things;

1) Preach it and acknowledge that you are a hypocrite, unfaithful in this area

2) Don't preach it until you are faithfully doing it yourself

3) Preach it as though it was just God preaching to the hearers, and you are just another hearer

To me number 3) is not a good option.

Any thoughts?

24 comments:

dave miers said...

#1

Belteshazzar said...

i agree with Dave. #1 is essential, but i think the preacher comes under the word also and needs to be changed by the word, so it comes close to #3. so i would say #1 with #3.

geoffc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
geoffc said...

So at what level of unfaithfulness do we deem someone unfit to preach from the pulpit? Are there any standards or because we are all justified sinners it doesn't matter

I take it we al lbelieve there are at least some standards, I just wonder what they are. When am I too unfaithful in the great commission that I am unfit to preach?

Nick said...

Hey Geoff,

If the preacher is faithful at first applying the Scripture to himself before preaching, then it is inevitable that the vast majority of the sermon's application will probably be application that the preacher is guilty of. That is, if there isn't a level of 'hypocrisy' then the preacher probably hasn't spent enough time applying the scripture to his own life.

I take your point on integrity. Most of us would not accept a preacher who is having an affair preaching on adultery. I think the difference is an attitude of repentence. Hypocrisy happens really when the preacher preaches against a lifestyle that he is actively living and refusing to repent of. The right attitude should probably be that the preach preaches against a lifestyle that he is guilty of, but repentant in.

Bit simplistic though, by close enough.

Thanks Geoff,

Nick

Donna said...

Aren't we all #3 to some degree. I think that some of the best sermons are when the preacher has changed something in his/her life because of the sermon prep, and is able to say how it went.

geoffc said...

yeh donna, I totally agree.

What I was trying to say in regard to #3 was that integrity doesn't matter at all. It doesn't matter who is up the front, as long as the word is preached faithfully (faithfully = truthfully). Alcoholics, adulterers, the spiritually weak. Doesn;t matter, as long as what you say is right. I'm not sure i;m comfortable with that.

If it doesn't matter for the preacher, does it matter for the pastor? The New Testament has guidelines for the character and abilities of the pastor.

Donna said...

I appreciate your comment "faithfully = truthfully" I think that is the assumption held by many, but faithfully means so much more. Of course sermons have to be truthful, but "faithful" in this sense also means that you've been impacted yourself by the text and are able to witness to God's work in your life - whatever stage you're at.

onlinesoph said...

1

The Ton said...

#4? Preach acknowledging that you fail in these areas like the rest of us, then point to Christ who didn't fail to pray or evangelise and lead people to worship him (outworking itself in prayer and evangelism.

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