This is a response to Nick Norelli’s Preach the Word, in which he says, “The average believer that I’ve encountered just wants to know what the Bible says and find ways to apply it to life.” This comes after Nick says that Bible study shouldn’t be turned into miniature seminary lectures and “People who want seminary lectures should by all means attend seminary.”
Nick’s own position:
“Preach the text and let all the theology flow from it. Don’t spend too much time speculating.”
But what does Nick mean by “Preach the text and let all the theology flow from it?” Is he advocating a run-on commentary and then highlight theological truths as you go?
My own position: the preacher should first establish the theology of the text, support it with the surrounding material, and then apply it to the listeners.
And it is worth keeping in mind that every text of Scripture, to which we turn for our sermons, is first shaped by its own theology. It is our task as students of the Word to first discover what that theology is.
However, I do agree with Nick that we should not be spending too much time speculating.
“When the soldiers dress Jesus up in a purple robe, they do so in order to mock him, but John tells us of it in order to declare that Jesus is indeed the one in purple, the one before whom the nations will bow.” –N.T. Wright, How God Became King
We’re reminded of Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:8: “None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (HCSB)
Perhaps there are several answers to this question.
At any rate, over the years, how we’ve chosen to engage this question is the single most important element that has shaped and influenced our worship and how we do church.
Stop. And think about it.
Well, recently I received an answered that caused me great concern. Along with a few others, I heard one leader say that the purpose of gathered worship was to reach the lost. So the music we sing, the preaching, how we do announcements, and the prayers should all be about reaching the lost.
It’s that seek-sensitive approach.
But gathered worship is for believers to receive strength and encouragement from each other as they prepare to engage the world and the lost for Christ and his kingdom (1 Corinthians 14).
We gather around the Word, the sacraments, in the name of the Triune God, to offer ourselves to the Lord and to one another, and to receive from the Lord and one another, for his glory and our good.
Posted in Worship
- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: B&H Books (July 15, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433687291
Many thanks to B&H Books for a review copy of Thom S. Rainer’s I Will! Nine Traits of The Outwardly Focused Christian.
I Will is something of a sequel to Rainer’s bestseller I Am a Church Member–a book which focused on the attitudes of church members. I Will is taking that next step from an I-am-a-church-member to an I-will-church-member, where the focus is on actions.
After the introductory chapter, “A Tale of a Joyous Church Member,” Rainer dives in to “Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian.” In typical Rainer fashion, each trait is not only illustrated by a ministry experience but by research as well.
Each chapter ends with “Points to Ponder,” which are four to five questions, to further study and reflection for the individual reader or small group.
I Will is a solid read. It is bold and challenging. In fact, I think that not only church members, but especially church leaders should read it. If we’re going to really change the landscape and culture of the church in America, it begins will those in leadership position. Church members should and MUST demand and expect more from them–shepherds of God’s people and NOT CEOs, trying to run some successful organization. It’s a call to 1 Peter 5:1ff.
Rainer’s I Will can go a long way in correcting some the missteps of the church in America. According to Rainer, there’s a difference between Christianity and Churchianity, much of what we see in local gatherings across the US.
Both church leaders and their members should read I Will. If church leaders want their members to move from “I Am” to “I Will,” then they must create a culture that will make this happen. I Will is source that such leaders can certainly draw from.
I Will is Thom S. Rainer’s follow up to his #1 bestseller I Am a Church Member, a book which deals with the attitude of church members.
Through this blog, the publisher is willing to give away five copies of I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian–in a draw, at the end of the week.
If you wish your name to be entered in a draw to receive your free copy, simply retweet the following:
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