Friday, January 30, 2009

In conclusion

I finished the book To Preach or Not to Preach?, and here is his conclusion:

We have seen that in the New Testament churches the growth into spiritual maturity of both individuals and communities was achieved by a variety of means, which did not include the regular sermon. Indeed, the experience of the churches and current knowledge about the learning process suggest that regular use of the sermon tends to have harmful consequences. It frequently fails to instruct; it deskills; it foster an unhealthy dependence on the clergy. In these ways the regular sermon not only fails to promote spiritual growth but also intensifies the impoverishment of Christian life which characterizes large areas of the church today.

The regular sermon does not, of course, stand alone as the one great corrupter of Christian faith and life. It is embedded in a complex organizational structure which is far removed from biblical patterns and which also inhibits Christian growth to maturity. The sad irony is that many preachers want to see their congregations grow in knowledge and love. Many take a great deal of trouble over preparing their sermons. Yet the teaching method they have chosen to use is, in practice, working with other factors to frustrate their hopes.—To Preach or Not to Preach?, page 115

<idle musing>
All of the statements above are his summary of what he has laid out in the preceding 50 plus pages, with extensive footnotes. If you disagree with his conclusions, you will have to get the book (it's out of print) and read it to see if you can negate the arguments behind his conclusions summarized above.
</idle musing>


Anonymous said...

I am anticipating the reception of this fine work Sir. Thanks again. Hey by the way how far are you from South Bend? I am from Benton Harbor Michigan. I would love to visit the store?

jps said...


We are about an hour south and east of South Bend on Highway 30, heading toward Fort Wayne. We don't really have a store, since we are a web and catalog based business. But, we invite people to shop our warehouse. I think it's more fun that way, stumbling over all the books :)


Joel and Renée said...

Can I leave a comment this far back?
I thought this was a good message. If you have time to listen to it we could talk about it sometime.
Love Joel