Saturday, June 6, 2009

More on Sobriety

The day I put the finishing touches on Lesson 5, I later read the following by James White:

Finally, there is a key term used here that has been lost in the large portion of preaching and proclamation today, one we saw in Paul's instruction to Timothy and Titus: solemnity. This is actually part of the term "to testify." Our testimony is to be solemn, serious, and befitting the subject of proclamation. There is something unnatural about speaking of eternal judgment, redemption, forgiveness, lordship, and life in the context of light-hearted entertainment and Hawaiian shirt informality. I'm sorry, but it is hard for me to take a man seriously who rides a Harley into the sanctuary, for example, (nothing wrong in riding one to the service!) or who is going out of his way to be viewed not as a herald of a majestic person with a weighty message, but as my buddy, my pal, my next door neighbor. This kind of seriousness, fervency, and gravity is not inconsistent with joy that marks one's own testimony of redemption and forgiveness. It does not mean that one's proclamation has to be boring, stiff, or lacking in interest or even appropriate humor. Sadly, we live in a day when many who come into the fellowship lack basic listening skills or the discipline to pay attention for almost any length of time at all. An appropriate, topic-sensitive use of humor can "refocus" an audience so that one can press home an important statement. However, humor can never become the vehicle of real Christian preaching. When we testify that Jesus is the Judge of the living and the dead, that is not a joking matter. One cannot but speak of such weighty matters with a solemnity fitting the subject.
Pulpit Crimes, pp 44-45

1 comment:

Kati said...

I will echo Jodi's comment on your last post; I have been reading all these posts and I so appreciate being able to hear our pastor's heart on what God has been teaching him through personal trial.