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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 http://www.preachermike.com/2006/06/14/training-for-professionalism#comments)

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.

qb

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