Thursday, November 03, 2005

Resisting relevance

At times in my ministry I've been under pressure to do less expository preaching and put more attention on addressing "relevant topics." Apparently, this pressure is not limited to the pulpit. Here's Kim at The Upward Call:
It’s difficult in an age where publishers of Sunday school material are more concerned with making things “fun.” Silly activities that have nothing to do with the lesson, shallow lessons; I’ve seen a lot of it. Publishing houses of Sunday school material are rife with topical studies that examine issues such as self-esteem, peer pressure and friendship. Now, those topics are all fine, but personally, I’ve discovered that if one simply teaches in an expository manner, she’ll end up touching on those subjects.
Amen. There is a place for topical preaching and teaching. But the problem arises when we turn to topical instruction as a shortcut to learning information as opposed to really internalizing the full truth of God's Word. As someone has said, the point of preaching is not to take the Bible into our world and make it relevant to our lives; it's to take ourselves into the Bible and let our lives be shaped by the truth of the Word.


Blogger Peter Bogert said...

I ranted somewhat about this in my post yesterday, Milton. One person questioned my criticisms by asking (and it is a legitimate question) "Can't we be fun?"

Perhaps what spawned my tirade against the VeggieTales edition of The Lord of the Rings was that, while not being related to biblical truth, nevertheless plays into the need to choose fun over substance.

Kim hits the nail on the head. Thanks for sharing it!

7:44 AM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thank you, Peter!

8:02 AM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Kim said...

You know, I was kind of afraid to say that at first. Thanks for linking it; makes me feel like I wasn't totally off.

I agree with you about the legitimacy of topical teaching, but as you said, used as a short cut, I think it carries some risk.

10:23 AM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for your comments, Kim, and thanks for your post. Peace.

1:25 PM, November 03, 2005  

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