Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Preaching, authenticity, and style

Several bloggers have commented lately on style and Spirit in preaching. Brian Colmery offers some intriguing thoughts about style and authenticity:

. . . all preaching should really be the same “style” – the style of somebody sobbing before God. . . . .The style of the pastor is one of passionate plea before God, absolute surrender to his own inability. . . . True authenticity comes only when we let the word impact our own soul to the point that our motifs are left behind, because we are too moved as we are on our knees, pleading for the hearts and souls of the congregation, to act as we normally do. This is not overheated emotion. This is appropriate, legitimate, and necessary gravity. And this is what the world is searching for—something so important that it never needs manufactured passion to make it impactful. Style shouldn’t get in the way of this. In fact, it can’t – every man has the same “style” when he is on his knees.

While I wouldn't go so far as to say that every preacher should have the same style (and I don't think Brian is, either), Brian is right on target in asserting that humility before God should completely overshadow the particularities of individual style.

David Wayne comes at the issue from a slightly different angle but comes to a related conclusion. The Jollyblogger points out that it's easy to confuse tone of voice, gesturing, and crowd effect with "Spirit-filled" preaching: "the work of the Spirit is measured by genuine lifechange, not the emotion or reaction of the moment." David's post, by the way, is an expansion on these comments from Jeremy Price.

Today, David explores the story of Marjoe Gortner to show how easily workings of the "Spirit" can be counterfeited using standard tricks or rhetoric and working a crowd.

The lesson in all this? That the real power is in the Word of God. Our value as preachers is only as strong as our own proclamation, in word and action, of that living Word.


Blogger Brian Colmery said...

Thanks, Milton. I appreciate what you wrote in your post...I agree that not everyone should have the same preaching style, and yet at the same time style needs to be one of the lowest priorities. When style becomes method, we've missed the boat.

8:20 PM, April 26, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...


5:31 AM, April 27, 2005  
Blogger John Schroeder said...

Good Job milt -- linked here

9:13 AM, April 30, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Oustanding post, John. Thanks for your comments and for the link. Peace.

7:29 PM, April 30, 2005  

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