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The state of the church and 3D pastors

Pastor Tony Morgan (right) next
to a holographic figure.

3D pastors. Who would’ve thought?

If the only job of a pastor was to preach, then perhaps this would be fine. However, a pastor must be a shepherd! That is the meaning of the word!

Holograms do not shepherd! In fact, technology is the death of the church! Why do I say this?

It has become way too easy for people to use only technology to make up their daily spiritual diet. Christians no longer come together as the people of God, because the over-use of technology has sent a message of total individualism to the church, making the local church a nuisance to our every day lives. Suddenly, we are more interested in what Tom, Dick and Harriet from across the big, blue pond have to say. Pastors have become irrelevant to modern Christians, because they can simply switch on the TV, or stream a video of a sermon via the internet, preached by a pastor that we will never get into contact with.

There is no longer a need to go to church. In fact, I was shocked speechless at a Biblical Worldview Seminar recently, when a married couple told me that they felt so good about themselves and their “freedom” in Christ since they decided to no longer attend church. They get all their spiritual “nutrition” via technology! I suppose that is why they are more concerned about fluoride in water and toothpastes, and aspartame in fizzy drinks than the people of God.

A church where shepherding, mentoring, true discipling is not practiced, is a failing church. Christianity is not about a sermon, although true preaching is at the heart of the church getting together. No, Christianity is about the gospel of Christ, and how it has changed us, and made a bunch of pagans into the one true people of God! How can we even claim to be the people of God if we do not want to gather with the people of God to worship and hear the preaching of God’s word. A true Christian will love the people of God. We cannot say we love God and not want to get together with the people God elected in His divine love!

The problem with modern technology in the church, is that much of it becomes a distraction. It makes attending church more like attending a movie! It becomes important that the entertaining factor is high all the time. The church is literally entertaining itself to death!

Technology in itself is not bad or evil. However, its use can have effects that we do not always think about when something new comes onto the market. Much of it is faddish, and it doesn’t help the preaching of God’s Word at all. It can distract, and “wow,” to the extent that the message of the gospel is lost in the bright lights, flashing images and loud noise.

Do we trust our preaching of the gospel so little, that we need to “wow” people in order to draw them? This is truly foolish! The Bible does not tell us that if we lift up technology that Christ will draw all kinds of people to Himself. We have to preach Christ, for it is the message of the gospel that will draw people. What did Paul write?

“For we are not ashamed of our technology, for the clever use of technology is the power of God for salvation to everyone who sees and hears our very entertaining techno messages.”

I bet you know that that is not what Paul wrote. Rather, he wrote:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Rom 1:16)

We are to preach the gospel with clarity and not with distractions. For it is not entertainment that draws the ungodly, but God Himself! (Jn 6:44)

So, will holographic pastors add to the preaching of the gospel or distract from it? In the long run, what effects will this have on the church? What message do you preach subliminally when using your new technology?

In the end, it all hinges on how the technology affects the message of the gospel. Technology is not worth it, if it negatively affects the message of the gospel!

HT: Dan Phillips

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"Preach the gospel, when necessary use words." Odd isn’t it?

12 January 2010 1 comment

J.D. Greear: Gospel is announcement OF WORDS. “Preach Gospel; when necessary use words” like saying “Tell me your phone #; if necessary, use digits.”

HT: Justin Taylor

Categories: Gospel, Preaching

The preaching of the gospel demands that we please God

26 May 2009 1 comment

(3) For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, (4) but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (5) For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness. (6) Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
1Th 2:3-6

Christians have been entrusted with the gospel. Since the gospel is the gospel of God and not our own gospel, the preaching of the gospel demands that we please God, and not man.

The problem with many preachers is that they preach to fill seats and not to save souls. This leads to all kinds of preaching that is not gospel driven, but rather aimed at flattering people. What so many preachers have forgotten is that a filled seat does not translate automatically to a saved heart.

If our preaching of the gospel is not the preaching of the true gospel of God, we simply will not see the salvation of people but rather the alteration of people. This is accomplished by all kinds of programmes. People are altered, like suits are altered, all the time. Programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous, and even other religions do this all the time! We do not preach a self-help programme!

However, only the true preaching of the gospel can truly bring the message of salvation to people. People driven preaching brings more people, but it saves no one! It usually means that the natural offensiveness of the gospel is watered down to make the message palatable to the world, ending up with a gospel that does not save, but rather strokes the ego of men.

We do not preach the gospel to make people feel better, i.e. pleasing them, but we preach the gospel so that mankind can understand their “lostness” without Christ, and how they fall short of the holy standards of God. We tell people they deserve hell, however, in Christ there is a Saviour, One that has paid the penalty of sin, One that made propitiation by His blood before a holy God. We tell them that without Christ they are lost, and they will not see the face of God after death.

We do not pander to the philosophies of this life, nor the psychological drivel sold to us daily in magazines and newspapers. Neither do we follow the latest church-growth fad to fill our pews.

No, we preach the gospel to please God, and God alone!

Preaching and the Sermon Builder

Preaching is a hot topic among some, but come on! You either do it right or get out! That is how strong I feel about preaching.

Most of what goes for preaching these days are motivational speeches. Take this sermon motivational speech, for instance. If ever I heard an empty sermon, this is it! There is just no exposition of the text.

Remember, using texts from Scripture in a speech does not a sermon make. That isn’t what qualifies the speech as Biblical preaching! Biblical preaching must be the exposition of the text at hand. For an example of my favourite Biblical preacher, John Piper, read, listen or watch his sermon, "This Is the Judgment: Light Has Come into the World."

If someone’s preaching is shallow, with no exposition of the text, and full of platitudes, then that person is doing a disservice to the Lord he claims to serve. He obviously does not understand the gravity of Biblical preaching!

Remember, preaching is the proclamation of the very Word of God, the only message that carries the truth God wanted to share with us! It is the only message that carries the way to God, and that, dear reader, makes it the most important message in heaven and on earth! Are you willing to mess with that? I hope not!

The Shepherd’s Fellowship has created a Sermon Builder. Here is a blurb concerning their sermon tool:

"Welcome to the Sermon Builder – a step-by-step guide for expository sermon preparation. While the Sermon Builder will not write someone’s sermon for them, it is intended to lead pastors and Bible teachers through the basic steps of exegesis and exposition. It is our desire that even the experienced expositor, as he works his way through the Sermon Builder, will be refreshed and reminded of helpful principles and truths."

This is a tool that many pastors should be using to not only improve their sermons, but to guide them towards being Biblical in their preaching. Please start using this tool ASAP!

Here are also some other posts I wrote on preaching:

Reading on preaching
MUST Bible teachers be trained in the Biblical languages?
The "bumper sticker" gospel
Good sermon
Reading the ‘non-existent’ into the text

Categories: John Piper, Preaching, Sermons

Audio sermons by James Montgomery Boice

One of my favourite preachers is the late James Montgomery Boice (7 July 1938 – 15 June 2000).

His audio sermons can be found all over. Here are a few links to his sermons:

Monergism

Believer’s Chapel Dallas – This one of my favourite series.

SermonIndex

Some audio resources available

15 February 2009 Leave a comment
Categories: Audio, MP3, Preaching

MUST Bible teachers be trained in the Biblical languages?

28 January 2009 2 comments

I read a blog post over at Hebrew and Greek Reader, called Case and Point, that puts forth the thesis that

“all Bible teaching needs to be done by someone trained to read biblical languages. That means that if your pastor can’t read biblical Hebrew and Greek, he should keep his mouth shut and not preach from the Bible. This standard is even more necessary when untrained Bible teachers mistakenly try to incorporate some fun facts from the world of biblical languages, as Rob Bell has done in his Nooma videos. Art Boulet and Andrew Naselli have the skinny, no need for me to repeat their spot-on responses.”

On the other hand, Bill Mounce, in a blog post called How do you use Greek in the pulpit? wrote:

“I just don’t think there are many times you need to parade your knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. As I said in the previous blog, people want to put you up on a pedestal. They want to think that you are different from them. But as I have told people many times from the pulpit, we are all gifted people in the same body, and only Christ is the head. My gift puts me up front and puts me in a position of leadership, but I am still just one gift in the midst of other gifted people.”

Are these two writers at odds with one another, or are they simply elevating different nuances of the same thing?

You decide!