Saturday, September 10, 2011

Should We Preach with Authority

I found this article and although I normally don't post someone elses writing on my blog, this was very good and conveys my thoughts well. Enjoy the article written by Shane Idleman. I hope several of you will comment.

A few years back, I listened in astonishment as postmodern leaders talked about replacing “preaching” with “having a conversation.” At first, I thought that maybe they were confusing individual conversations with how we should speak to the masses, but I was wrong. They felt that we should stop “preaching” from the pulpit, and start being more passive and less confrontational. Never mind the fact that Jesus said, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 4:43). But according to many postmoderns, it’s time to replace... preaching with conversing.

Don’t get me wrong... I’m not questioning cosmetic issues such as styles of worship, ambiance, lighting, and mood. I’m challenging the dangerous practice of removing foundational principles — Spirit- empowered preaching is foundational.

I’m also not suggesting that we never converse with people; quite the contrary... We must be slow to speak and quick to listen, but when we are called to preach, a whole new dynamic takes place…the Spirit of God speaks, convicts, draws, heals, breaks, restores,wounds, and rebuilds. In the book, Spirit Empowered Preaching,the author said, “It must be understood that the preacher does not share, he declares… Preaching is not a little talk. It is not a fireside chat. To substitute sharing and discussion for preaching is to risk the integrity of the gospel itself.”

“What does this have to do with me; I’m not a pastor, or a preacher,” you might ask. It has a great deal to do with any Christian regard-less of his or her calling. Let me explain. There is a very troubling trend in the evangelical church, as a whole. Foundational doctrines such as the cross, sin, judgment, and repentance were declared openly in the early hours of church history, as well as in American history—when revivals and awakenings spread across our landscape.

Today, these foundational truths are often neglected, watered-down,or avoided altogether in the hope of “not offending,” “securing an audience,” or being “user-friendly.” Judgment is never mentioned;repentance is never sought; and sin is often excused. This leaves people confused and deceived because they believe in a cross-less Christianity that bears no resemblance to Jesus’ sobering call to repentance. Even though you may not be a Christian leader, we all are called to share God’s Word with others—especially the difficult truths. Then we are also able to offer hope.

“To convince the world of the truth of Christianity, it must first be convinced of sin. It is only sin that renders Christ intelligible”(-Andrew Murray; 1794-1866). In other words, the crucifixion only makes sense in light of the consequences of sin. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15), yet, we’re not suppose to mention sin, repentance, or judgment?

Again, the good news about Christ can only be appreciated with the bad news as the backdrop. There are times when the saints must be fed, and there are times when the sinners must be warned (-C.H. Spurgeon). Preaching, witnessing, teaching, and so on must be done with God-given authority to truly be effective. When we fail to proclaim God’s Word faithfully, we run the risk of “encouraging sin” and “perverting the words of the living God.”(cf. Jeremiah 23).

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