Jensen on Preaching

After a dud sermon, many a desperate preacher finds solace in Jesus’ words in Luke 4:24: “I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his home town”. Everyone loves a prophet, as long as he is either well dead and therefore idealized to the point of fantasy, or a foreign ‘treasure’ whom no-one really understands anyway.

Too often, we go the other way. There are way too many preachers who are people pleasers and are afraid of putting anything that they hold into risk. They tend to think that, love is peace at its core, and like Mother Theresa, that is how God is. Loving and ensuring that everyone ‘accepts’ us, and that everyone ‘knows we are acceptable’. And they claim this is how the ‘teachers of the law’ ought to be in conduct. We must come to a ‘balanced’ view of things; to claim that one knows more than the other is sheer arrogance, and not ‘Christian’ in thinking. A ‘Christian teacher’ ought to instill respect through the accomodation of relativist thinking. Instead, those who hold to the old, old story and old, old views are seen as ‘traditionalist’ (as though it were a bad word) and ‘fixed’. They ridicule what they do not (without the Spirit’s help) understand and they pride themselves on wanting to see things as they experience it themselves.

This is the reality of what the modern preacher has become. Nothing new at all. They are the new-minted Pharisees, who out of their own fears, put a fence around them to suit their thinking. Not willing to be taught, but always seeking to teach (pointing this and that). Everyone is a ‘priest’ in a wrong sense; thinking that they have the ‘right’ to be THE priest of their lives.

I find that these new modern preachers are exactly what the real preachers ought to be. Jensen’s article is very easily one that I fully accept and embrace. Too true the words for point 5:

Point 5: ‘People want to catch us out’
Jesus experienced the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (in Mk 12:13ff.) when they tried to trap him over a question of financial loyalty.

That’s the way the modern preacher is… they just nitpick on the things that does not fit their thinking and lampoon everything on a point of contention. They want to catch us out. I love that title. It fits.

I will always be indebted to Jensen for introducing expository preaching to me when I was but a lad in 1999. It opened up my whole understanding of sin, need for repentance and the fact that salvation is by sovereign Grace, and not by mere futile words that does not spring forth from a regenerated heart.

His closing words on this, I put to end this:

We are required to take a stand against religious relativism, denying the alternatives to the truth that we want to hammer home. We may, at times, have to come down on one side of a paradox. We may have to employ rhetorical hyperbole, shocking people’s minds in order to reach their hearts. Jesus’ outrageous remark in Luke 14:25 that his disciples must hate their families was not flippant and should not be blunted. It smashes our most treasured preconceptions in order to make room for the truth. That’s what a gospel preacher does.

Preachers shine strong light into the darkest corners of people’s hearts and chase out their excuses for ignoring God. We reveal their hiding places, demanding a response to what we say. We simplify the issues for people, clearing the foggy areas in which people hide from God so that they can see the decisions before them. We are called to run the risk of laying bare a heart that is blocked up with sin. It’s the risk of being unbalanced. If we are committed to balanced preaching, we are denying the depth and resilience of that sin. But if we commit ourselves to the dangerous declaration of a gospel that demands response, we will see at work our zealous, attention-demanding God.

Full article is from here.


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