Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The benefits of truth-trail preaching

Here's an outstanding article by Lee Eclov in a past issue of Preaching Today. Mr. Eclov warns against two common fallacies in preaching: sermons that focus either on the bottom line or on being "practical." Rather than being something that dispenses nuggets of truth, preaching should be more about teaching biblical ways of thinking, of "cutting truth trails" in the minds of hearers.
Preaching is the work of spiritually civilizing the minds of Christian disciples. . . . Our task is not only to display God's "point," but to instill God's logic—how he gets to that point.

The Bottom Line Fallacy, in contrast, focuses more giving listeners The Answer than in helping them learn to think Christianly for themselves:

Sermons that are abstracts of Scripture may properly summarize a biblical truth, but they are unconvincing. They do not reorient our thinking. We may know the bottom line, but we don't know how to live what we know. Without a truth trail, people cannot find their own way to the outposts of truth in their own hearts. Sometimes laying down that truth trail,showing the step-by-step thinking of a text, simply cannot be done in 20 minutes.

In a similar vein, the Practical Fallacy involves trying to make every biblical point relevant to the lives of hearers without giving proper attention to developing Christian thinking:

The Bible spends much more time on shaping the spiritual mind than commanding particular behavior. We need far more training in the ways of grace, of spiritual perceptions, and of what God is really like, than we do in how to communicate with our spouse. Understandingthe glory of Christ is far more practical than our listeners imagine.

Amen. Eclov's article is a keeper, full of wisdom, and I recommend it for every preacher.


Blogger Dan Edelen said...

I pray this "meme" that it's all about a holistic Biblical worldview keeps gathering strength. "Gospel nuggets" do not build strong Christians, but a comprehensive understanding of Creation, Fall, and Redemption does.

Francis Schaeffer may be more than twenty years dead, but maybe people are finally willing to listen.

10:14 PM, July 12, 2005  
Blogger J. A. Gillmartin said...

I've linked to this at The SHEEP'S CRIB.


1:06 AM, July 13, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Amen, Dan. I hope it keeps gathering strength, too.

2:22 PM, July 14, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Cool. Thanks for the link at the Crib.

2:23 PM, July 14, 2005  

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