Monday, January 26, 2009

The Sermon

“The regular sermon, as used today, is one of a series of sermons which takes place at most of the major meetings of the whole local church. The regular sermon cannot be detected in the Judaism of the Old Testament, the ministry of Jesus, the life of the primitive church or the church of the apostolic fathers. We shall discover evidence for it only as the church came increasingly under the influence of a variety of non-Christian ideas from the surrounding culture, frequently ideas which, like the sermon, were inimical to New Testament practice. The regular sermon was common by the third century and became the norm by the fourth, taking its place among a wide variety of ecclesiastical practices which owed little to the teaching, patterns and principles of the New Testament.”—To Preach or Not to Preach?, page 69

<idle musing>
Too bad this book is out of print. It is definitely a scholarly work—the notes are about a quarter of the book—that thoroughly examines the history of the sermon. I'm about half done with it; this is the interim conclusion which he comes to after reciting the history of the origin of the sermon. The rest of the book will evaluate its effectiveness, as he says, “we may possibly conclude that the Holy Spirit is using an old method of questionable origin in a new and effective way.” Stay tuned, and we'll see :)
</idle musing>


Jilliefl1 said...

Good book. "Pagan Christianity", by Frank Viola and George Barna, has an entire chapter on the origins of the modern day sermon and compares and contrasts it with preaching and teaching in the New Testament. There's also a lot of research included showing the ineffectiveness of the modern sermon. The constructive sequel, "Reimagining Church" goes into it some as well. .

jps said...

Actually, Pagan Christianity takes most of that chapter straight out of this book; check their footnotes to see the degree to which they rely on it.