Spirit-Less Preaching

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At Jollyblogger: The Power of Spirit-Less Preaching

God may speak powerfully through someone, but the emphasis on Spirit-filled preaching in some quarters misses something important, the word itself. The example of Philippians 1 is apt. Paul rejoiced that the gospel was being preached, even if the people who were doing it were doing it to spite him (presumably because he was in prison, and thus they could have all the results while he was locked up). At the most fundamental level, God works despite the human who delivers the message, not because of what we do. Of course, we can cooperate with God's purposes by repenting and having the right motives, just as we can cooperate with his purposes by preparing carefully and thinking hard and prayerfully about what our audience needs to hear. Too often being Spirit-filled seems to have something to do with tone, volume, or how the preacher or the audience feels rather than whether God has worked in the hearts of those hearing it for genuine lifechange. That's the true indication of Spirit-filled preaching, and it may not have much to do with whether the preacher is Spirit-filled.

Update: He's got another post up now where he expands on and clarifies the point even more, starting from the way I just formulated it and offering some adjustments and caveats. I agree with pretty much all of it.
Update 2: Now he's got another post up.

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Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Spirit-Less Preaching.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://movabletype.ektopos.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/403

My last two posts on preaching (here and here) have evolved in the comments into a discussion of the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching. Read More

In a prior post, Phil Dillon from Another Man's Meat left the following comment: Even the frauds using the word of God can't dull its power. The best example I can think of is Marjoe. He was a child evangelist Read More

2 Comments

Good points--thanks for bringing up these points, particularly about the place of tone of voice and gestures as being seen as "spirit filled." I've linked to your article from my blog. Peace.

Jeremy,

I bet you could come up with a dozen or so characteristics of truly Spirit filled preaching which centers on the revelation of the word. Certain denominations may feel they have a corner on the phrase "Spirit-filled." But they don't.

My first spiritual mentor taught me as a young, new believer. She would often point out that style was simply tradition and not to worry much at all about that since God can use any style/personality/tone/volume/diction habits, etc. What she taught me to watch for was LIFE. She taught me to watch for the centrality of the cross of Christ in the overall preaching. She taught me to test things by the fruit, to listen carefully for scriptural truth, and that the Word would be revealed by the Spirit and there would be "life." The Lord would be central, not the preacher. The preacher would desire to give glory to God. And I would come away with truth that would bring change in Christ honoring ways. All these are independent of style and denominational tradition.

When she got done showing me these elemental things, certain "boring" preachers came alive to me, and certain "lively" preachers suddenly appeared hollow. And these simple ideas have often been my method for assessing preaching.

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