Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flaw of Intellectual Preaching

Some consider the goal of preaching to be growing the intellect; as long as people learned something, surely they grew. Others fear any kind of information transfer; for "knowledge puffs up," right?

Consider the two following passages [emphasis added]:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.--Romans 12:1-2

That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.--Ephesians 4:22-24
Clearly, preaching is to engage the mind, for you are speaking of the oracles of God. Despite some weak protests by some postmodern advocates, words do have meaning and those meanings combine to make fact statements. Good preaching will engage the mind, however, preaching that just rests in the mind will be ineffective and will seem ethereal.

Preaching that rests in the mind will either tempt the listener to self-righteousness (thinking that knowledge equals sanctification) or will overwhelm the listener with yet more information, details and requirements. Others, who wish to live in their sin, will prefer informational preaching, for who really gets convicted studying the dates of the Jewish deportation?

So, the mind is necessary in sanctification, but the mind is not where the preacher should exclusively land.

Where should he aim?

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