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A Different Kind of Sermon?

22 June 2006

Big Mike’s rhetorical question about “a different kind of sermon� rings truly with me.

(See Big Mike Lewis’ comment at

I’m not really sure that when Jesus sat down and started to teach on the hillside, he prefaced his remarks by saying, “the sermon starts here; I’ll let you know when I’m done.� The sermons of Acts 17, Acts 2, Acts 8 and elsewhere just aren’t that awfully long, and they seem to fit more squarely into a model-less model, a context that Willard seems to hint at with his renaming of the “discourse on the hill.� They were ad-hoc remarks that jump-started a dialogue, in other words, instead of standing on their own as one-way sermons. The one-way sermon model seems to lend itself to perpetuating and being perpetuated by the anthropocentrism, preachercentrism, “you da man� culture that pervades the contemporary church across all denominational strata.

The passage that lurks in the back of my mind here is I Corinthians 14, in which Paul makes it pretty plain that he wishes all of the church “members� or “body parts� would prophesy. Similarly to Moses (Numbers 11?), Paul was not interested, apparently, in being considered the ultimate prophetic authority within a group of Christians. He wanted that gift to be dispersed among all who aspired to it, had been gifted by the Holy Spirit “just as he wills� and had the humble temperament required to exercise it faithfully.


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