Thursday, March 22, 2007

Between Two Worlds...

Okay folks...I read a lot of books and I'm gonna start writing some small interactions (reviews?) about some of them. The reason I'm writing is to help me think as I read (this is important). I just finished chapter 1 of John Stott's Between Two Worlds. This is a book about preaching.

Between Two Worlds
The Challenge of Preaching Today
written by John Stott

Chapter 1 – The Glory of Preaching: A Historical Sketch

The goal of this chapter was to take a survey of the preaching of the Word of God, its high regard and great importance, throughout church history. As such, there was not much argument to this chapter since it was an introductory survey.

Let me list a few notable quotations from the chapter:
  • From Chrysostom (4th-5th c.) bishop of Constantinople speaking about the healing of the body of Christ, “[the] only means and one way of cure has been given us…and that is teaching of the Word…without it nothing else will avail.”
  • From Martin Luther speaking about the power of the Word of God in combating against the papacy during his trials, “I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word: otherwise I did nothing. And when, while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my Philip and my Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a Prince of Emperor inflicted such damage upon it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”
  • From Stott, “It stands to reason that every recovery of confidence in the Word of God, and so in a living God who spoke and speaks, however this truth may be defined, is bound to result in a recovery of preaching. This must be why so many great preachers have belonged to the reformed tradition.
  • An observation from Stott, “So we come to the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The tide of preaching ebbed, and the ebb is still low today. At least in the western world the decline of preaching is a symptom of the decline of the Church. An era of skepticism is not conducive to the recovery of confident proclamation.”
  • This book was written in 1982. I wonder what Stott’s evaluation would be 25 years later? I’m sure he would be very proud of Joel Osteen’s expository sermons.

2 comments:

keith said...

It's interesting in light of Tuesday's post about alcohol. Luther just sat around drinking beer while the word of God did it's work. Maybe the Acts29 folks could work a mantra out of this.

And here's a word from a guy who thinks Americans have heard enough preaching. Interesting discussion.

Mark said...

Keith...

I think I understood what that guy was trying to say. I think his big deal was the "expert culture" that exists in America and all of the fighting it seems to produce.

Unfortunately, I would say that most American Christians know a very little amount of God's Word. Ask an average church member to quote you even their ten most precious Bible verses or give you a biblical accurate gospel presentation showing you the verses!!!

The big problem is our comfort level and the apathy that it breeds. I'm preaching through Philippians right now, and it has a lot to say about suffering. Our series title is "All for the Gospel." That's how Paul lived his life b/c he suffered for the gospel that he intimately knew.

Enough random thoughts.