Thursday, September 13, 2007

Preaching Re-Imagined

The last preaching book I read was A. Stanley’s Communicating for a Change. That book made me question much of what I was taught about modern preaching. Then I read Doug Pagitt’s Preaching Re-Imagined and that book caused me to question the entire practice of preaching as we know it. Pagitt commonly referrers to preaching to “speaching.” Here is a brief description of speaching: a well educated and often paid Christian (typically know as “the preacher”) jams himself in a office to study, pray, and write without the impute of other from within community of faith but stand before the community to deliver a speech that declares the oracles of God to the people for their spiritual development. Though some see no problems with this type of preaching some, like Pagitt see major problems.

Problem One: Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man. Preaching, as we know it, views the preacher as the mediator.

Problem Two: Let’s face it…much of the church is ignorant of the Scriptures. In fact they know more about what the preacher said than what the scriptures teach. Modern preaching says, “I’m the official preacher therefore I can properly administer the Word of God and you have limited knowledge therefore should have limited impute. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.” Most Christians have no desire to learn the Scriptures because their preacher will tell them what to know.

Problem Three: Perceptive and application is limited to the preacher. The idea that one person, no matter who sensitive to the community, can provide an exhaustive list of perceptive and ways a text can implicate the entire community is ridiculous.

I could go on and on about the short comings of preaching as we know it.

I would be crazy to recommend this book to anyone that defends the traditional church as we know it. It attacks the very heart of it’s existence…to preach the Word of God. But like Pagitt, I do not believe that the church’s primary reason of existence is to preach God’s Word. Therefore, this belief gives me freedom and breathing room ask “What’s the purpose of preaching!?!?”

I recommend this book to all youth workers that feel they have to deliver a well polished presentation in order for students to learn. I recommend this book to every post-modern thinker that sees major holes in the traditional and contemporary church. I recommend this book to every young preacher whose open minded enough to reconsider their beliefs and convictions on preaching as they know it.

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