Chicken Preaching, Flat Mountains and Glorious Contradictions

Chicken Preaching, Flat Mountains and Glorious Contradictions

The funny guys at Babyon Bee have hit on a Forsythian nerve of mine.  The headline ‘Half Of Congregation Dies Of Starvation As Sermon Goes 15 Minutes Over Time‘ is brilliant satire, as are almost all of their other articles; a much welcome relief to the tedium of seriousness we Protestants can so easily find ourselves embroiled in; relieved only by the annual church Barn Dance (this comment is also satire….or is it)?

My first thought upon reading the title was remembering two theological giants famous for, among many other things, their preaching.  The first, John Stott, metaphorically places the nail underneath the fast approaching hammer:John_stott

“Basically it is not the length of a sermon which makes the congregation impatient for it to stop, but the tedium of a sermon in which even the preacher himself appears to be taking very little interest.”

Continue reading

A couple of John Wesley gems

Sermon 32 – ( between 1737-1746)

The Nature of Enthusiasm – Acts 26:24

And Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, you are beside yourself.” 

“And so say all the world, the men who know not God, of all that are of Paul’s religion: of every one who is so a follower of him, as he was of Christ.  It is true there is a sort of religion, nay, and it is called Christianity too, which may be practised without any such imputation, which is generally allowed to be consistent with common sense, that is, a religion of form, a round of outward duties, performed in a decent, regular manner.  You may add orthodoxy thereto, a system of right opinions, yea, and some quantity of heathen morality: and yet not many will pronounce, that ‘much religion hath made you mad.’  But if you aim at the religion of the heart, if you talk of ‘righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,’ then it will not be long before your sentence is passed, ‘You are beside yourself.'”

Sermon 43 – ( between 1737-1746)

The Cure of Evil Speaking – Matthew 18:15-17

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’  If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

“Speak evil of no man, says the great Apostle:  as plain a command as, Do not murder.  But who, even among Christians, regards this command?  Yea, how few are there that so much as understand it!  What is evil speaking?  Is it not, as some suppose, the same with lying or slandering?  All a man says may be as true as the Bible; and yet the saying of it is evil speaking.  For evil speaking is neither more nor less than speaking evil of an absent person; relating something evil, which was really done or said by one that is not present when it is related.  Suppose, having seen a man drunk, or heard him curse or swear, I tell this when he is absent; it is evil speaking.  In our language, this is also, by an extremely proper name, termed ‘backbiting.’  Nor is there any material difference between this and what we usually style ‘tale-bearing.’  If the tale be delivered in a soft and quiet manner (perhaps with expressions of goodwill to the person, and the hope that things may not be quite so bad), then we call it ‘whispering.’  But in whatever manner it be done, the thing is the same; the same in substance, if not in circumstance.  Still it is evil-speaking; still this command, ‘Speak evil of no man,’ is trampled under foot; if we relate to another the fault of a third person, when he is not present to answer for himself.”

Forty Four Sermons by John Wesley, Epworth Press, 1944

IMG_6607

A night-time shot in Cambodia’s capital: Phnom Penh ©

Christ must be preached!

cartoon-preacher

Sermons are a duty and a joy.  A duty that is born out of the calling of God to preach the Gospel of Christ in the power of the Spirit, which is also a joy at the same time.  This strange combination and the outworking of it always amazes me, and always motivates me, it terrifies me and weighs heavy with me.  But woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.

Continue reading