Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Emptiness of the American Pulpit...

Preaching is my calling. I understand that it is not simply preaching alone. I am called to pastor a local congregation of believers, oversee a thriving church administration, stay focused upon the spiritual growth and development of those who sit under my leadership, engage in the Great Commission call to make disciples, fulfill my prayer responsibilities, participate in ongoing personal development, stay current with the times in which God has placed me, prepare multiple sermons a week but most definitely to preach. So as I say, preaching is my calling. If I could not preach the truth of God's Word I would feel a vast expanse of emptiness in my life. Not because I would miss the public recognition of standing before people every week or the satisfaction of hearing myself talk (I laugh at that thought as I am my harshest critic). But if I could not preach I would be denying God's purpose for my life, suppressing what I have been created to do, and failing to live out God's will for me in Christ Jesus. I am a preacher!

So what is the purpose of this post? Over the past 10-15 years as I have studied preaching, read numerous books on the subject of preaching, attended many conferences where some preached and others dabbled at it, and as I have hopefully developed as a preacher myself, I have come to a conclusion in light of the increasing decline of the church in America - there is an emptiness in the American pulpit of alarming proportion. Where is that voice of authority calling people from a life of sin to the joy of living for Christ? What happened to those mighty men of God who would stand against the culture and declare "thus says the Lord!"? Where have the preachers in the vein of Spurgeon, Moody, Lee, Olford, Lloyd-Jones, Criswell, Falwell, Rogers, and Graham gone? I contend that one of the key reasons the Southern Baptist Convention – a Convention with a rich history of vitality from its pulpits – is in decline is due to an increasing emptiness in the pulpit. It is an emptiness that no longer challenges the declining morality in America but passively sits by watching this country slide down the slippery slope of pluralism and religious anarchy. It is an emptiness that is filling a religious void in awakened sinners but failing to call for true repentance and conversion. It is an emptiness that is spreading and must be remedied if we are to play a role in seeing spiritual awakening in this country once again.

Therefore, over the next several weeks I will be particularly self-indulgent (and somewhat opinionated) as I will be writing about preaching. I will examine the call to preach, the conviction necessary to preach, and the authority for preaching. I will talk about the necessity of precision in the pulpit coupled with passion and boldness. I will also share my thoughts regarding steadfastness, maintaining focus, and how to engage a desperate culture with a word from a desperate heart!

I hope you stay tuned and don’t cease to stop by Psa7872 because you feel this won’t speak to your situation in life. I realize most who read this blog are not called to preach from a pulpit but every Christ follower is called to “preach” in their walk of life. So hang around and I am convinced we can all learn something together.

Remember... Never yield your shield; Stay in the battle!

In Christ alone,