The Ineffectiveness of Preaching
From the intro to a sermon on Luke 8…
“In the parable of the sower, 3 out of 4 the four soils are people who do not hear with understanding and therefore do not have persevering faith and do not bear fruit. This teaches us to expect and shows us how to explain the frequency of unfruitful responses to preaching.
Many today criticize monologue as inappropriate for our postmodern TV attention span culture. They say we need dialogue and discussion and multimedia interactivity in order to communicate because preaching is ineffective today.
But what this parable tells us is that preaching has always been ineffective. But the answer is not updated modes of communication. Because the problem is in the hearts of the hearers. The sower, the preacher, is radically unemphasized in this parable. He is handing out the same seed to everybody and yet there are these four different responses.”
Traditional church continues to be provocatively deconstructed over at the Kamp Krusty blog. But this time I’m a little less sympathetic because lately preaching itself has been called into question. In the comment thread of his 1/29 post Brant writes…
“I certainly hope that, by having a professional-teaching-tier of Christianity, we don’t engender that same sort of thing, a consuming complexification of a simple message. If we did, that would be tragic, wouldn’t it?
We’d wind up with a bunch of people constantly trying to get fed, thinking they don’t ever really quite know enough, and never being activated to be who they’re supposed to be.”
And I replied with this serious question that I invite you to discuss (politely) here or at his blog.
I believe that prayer and preaching, Word and Spirit, activate people. In your view, what will suffice to activate people?