When preaching turns into just giving a speech

First I want to say , I get a great deal from listening at different preachers.

I am a craddle catholic, who looked into the protestant faith for about 10 years.

I was initially attracted to sola scriptura, and bible based systems.

I love the Bible and thought I would get a great deal of going through the Bible verse by verse

In the early 90’s this was the norm in most protestant sermons. Now it seems the

sermons I listen too, are just stories on pop culture, loosely based on the Bible.

It seems sermons are getting away from sola scriptura, and just turning into

speeches with many jokes interspersed.

My dad made me chuckle this summer. he totally got away from the catholic faith about 20 years ago, and started attending only protestant churches.

What made me chuckle was that he stopped going to church this summer, when I asked why he said the pastor had written a book, and was going through his book as the sermon.

Although the book is loosely based on the Bible , it is not the bible.

My dad went to a couple catholic masses I recommended, and says he will probably go back to his protestant church in the Fall when the pastor is through going through his own book.

I thought this was funny

Some preachers have played movie clips during their sermons like The Last Samuari, Finding Nemo, & The Lion King. Personally, I don’t want to see a movie clip in church, but somehow the preacher relates it to the message & scripture. I guess they want to grab everyone’s attention. A loud movie clip on a big screen does wake you up! :smiley:

This much we have in common.
What brought me to this thread was the title as was thinking along the same lines.
It’s as if they go in circles saying the same thing twice sometimes. A half hour sermon one really needs to hear maybe ten minutes of it and they got the whole half hour.
What I find funny is when the preacher gives an ancient language grammar lesson. Now how would sola scripture worked for the poor Irish farmer who couldn’t even spell his name let alone read it.

I agree that a lot of pastors can get to the point of sounding more like they are giving a speech or a lecture than preaching a sermon. The senior pastor at our church is a lot like that. He is a very fun and entertaining man, but he tends to ramble and go off on tangents in his sermons a lot. A lot of times he’ll ramble, then start ranting about whatever, then tell a story that is supposed to relate to the topic he’s preaching on, then a few jokes, and then finally he moves on to the next verse. By this time I get in a daze and sort of forget what he was preaching on (especially after one of his extreme Americanist rants). He’s a cool guy, I understand he does it so that people will stay focused but I don’t like it that much. Then again, it might be because he’s getting older.

Because of this I have started going to youth church service. The praise is more rock band style, but then again the regular service praise and worship is more like watching a big southern gospel choir perform so I guess it isn’t really that less reverent. We don’t have the same person preaching every Sunday but the ones I’ve heard seemed to ramble a lot less than our senior pastor does. (Although, ironically, the one who rambles the most is the pastor who is in charge keeping the youth ministries at our church together.)

Disney must be a huge influence on evangelical preachers considering their stand on so many issues.

Yes, I went with my grandparents to their Catholic Church again a few weeks ago, and found that I like the homilies a lot better than sermons generally. They still get the point across, and there’s still enough time to incorporate one or two stories if the priest wants. You also don’t get fidgety after about 15 minutes when you begin to feel like the preacher has pretty much made is point and the other 45 to 60 minutes are nothing more than filler. I think if all of the fluff was taken out of a lot of the sermons they would be about homily length anyways. There’s also the plus of not feeling like a newborn calf after get up from sitting down for 75 minutes. :smiley:

Just because a man was called to work for God doesn’t mean he is a good teacher/speaker/communicator! That is obvious in both Protestant and Catholic churches. The homily/sermon part is for teaching, unfolding the Bible to apply to our lives. Just as you would find a teacher YOU can learn from when you are learning a foreign language or whatever, you should find a priest/preacher you can learn from regarding the Bible and your spiritual life. I once went to a mechanic that was one of the nicest men I ever met, didn’t mean he was a good mechanic… nice, funny, other personality traits are all good, but if his style is not one you can learn from or he’s not able to do his job well, it’s time to find someone who can, in my opinion. This is where “church shopping” would be a good thing. Not denomination wise, but within whatever type of Christian faith you are, just to find someone you can learn from.

Just a thought, could it be because there isn’t the same format in their services? Some Protestant services don’t celebrate Communion every Sunday so they have to fill the time somehow.

Sorry, meant to get back to this thread sooner.

Just a thought, could it be because there isn’t the same format in their services? Some Protestant services don’t celebrate Communion every Sunday so they have to fill the time somehow.

Yes I think that is the case in most evangelical churches, like the one my family and I attend currently, we have ‘cracker grape juice communion’ about once a month (which is more often than a lot of Protestant churches). In our church communion is really nothing more than a toast to Jesus, like if we’re having a dinner party and honoring a distinguished guest, that kind of thing. But that’s what I like about Catholic Churches, regardless of how good/bad the priest is, the focus is always on Christ, in the Eucharist. In the church I go to, the focus seems to be on the pastor, the pulpit is up front and center, it just don’t feel the same if you know what I mean. :thumbsup:

So much for being a ‘Bible Church’, more like a ‘pastor church.’

I’ve read that 2 to 3 hours ‘thundering’ sermons were the ‘fashion’ in 19th century Scotland

What about the true meaning of Church. You know like receiving Christ in the Eucharist. The Mass has nothing to do with the sermon the Priest has.

I mean yes he does explain to us what the readings of the bible are. But the most important thing in mass is your communion with Christ, just you and him one on one.

I mean if it just meant listening to the word of God or a sermon you could sit home and watch anyone on tv.:shrug:

Seems that you’ve identified one path by which sermons become non-biblical but there is another path that is even more common - preaching as drama with careful attention to intonation, hand gestures, emotive appeal, and musical preparation. It’s the kind of preaching that tugs the heart strings like a well acted movie with a tear-jerker script. A lot of very popular preachers are adept at changing a sermon into an act.

What you’re talking about is the death of expository preaching.

There was a time when sermons were usually organized into series that took entire books verse by verse, chapter by chapter, all the way through with plenty of Greek and Hebrew background. It was, in short, the Pastor sharing the benefits of his considerable education.

And education, at least for evangelicals, is exactly where the problem lies. There was a time when it was normal, indeed required, for a Pastor, even in “low church” denominations like mine, to have an M.Div. at the very least. Earned D.Div. (back when such a thing still existed) and D.Min. degrees were not uncommon. Sure, there were exceptions. A.W. Tozer (who only had an Eighth Grade education) springs to mind, but that was the rare exception, not the rule. Now a days, we’re lucky to have a Pastor who even has an honest to goodness seminary degree. Usually we get someone with a B.A. in something totally unrelated who get’s ordained and then does a quicky M.A. via correspondence course.

Back when I was in Bible College, a wise old Professor told me that, “A Pastor feeds his church out of the storehouse of a lifetime spent seriously studying the word; and, if you don’t take your studies seriously, you won’t be have anything to feed them with. You can’t share what you don’t have.” And, at least in evangelicalism, that’s exactly the situation we’re in right now: People trying to share what they don’t have. We’ve exchanged worship for performance, preaching for platitudes, righteousness for politics, and genuine ministry for an ever more worldly and, in my mind, cynical set of “programs.”

I don’t know about other Christians but at our church our pastor does use the expository method of preaching. I’m sure there are plenty of pastors that can use that method and do a good job, but our pastor just seems to ramble a lot. I guess different styles work better with different people (though our pastor would probably have a rambling problem regardless of the style).

When a pastor that give a Joel Osteen or a Rick Warren sermon run from that church because all they are doing is giving you is a speech on how God wants you to have your best life now or all Law in that what you must do for God. A sermon must have two parts, Law that tells you that you are a sinner and under condemnation and Gospel that Christ did it all and points you to Him on the cross.

I’m inclined to sing “Ding dong the witch is dead!” at the prospect of the demise of expository preaching! I remember sitting through minute after tedious minute of sermons (usually 45 minutes long) telling me what the passage says, breaking it into three points, and then telling me what the three points say. It was all so very tiresome. As if the ‘expositor’ was mining an inexhaustible gold mine of lessons for life. When in fact what was happening was that a message that deserved about 5 or maybe 10 minutes of presentation was transformed into a three point sermon where the three points were repeated at least three times each and various anecdotes from modern life were interspersed among them with an occasional joke insinuated into one or more of the points so as to ‘drive home the theme’ or some such rot.

There was a time when sermons were usually organized into series that took entire books verse by verse, chapter by chapter, all the way through with plenty of Greek and Hebrew background. It was, in short, the Pastor sharing the benefits of his considerable education.

Oh dear! Like that 8 year long self-flagellating odyssey into tedious book exposition that was the legacy of Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones?

And education, at least for evangelicals, is exactly where the problem lies. There was a time when it was normal, indeed required, for a Pastor, even in “low church” denominations like mine, to have an M.Div. at the very least. Earned D.Div. (back when such a thing still existed) and D.Min. degrees were not uncommon. Sure, there were exceptions. A.W. Tozer (who only had an Eighth Grade education) springs to mind, but that was the rare exception, not the rule. Now a days, we’re lucky to have a Pastor who even has an honest to goodness seminary degree. Usually we get someone with a B.A. in something totally unrelated who get’s ordained and then does a quicky M.A. via correspondence course.

I see, but does that explain the liturgical dance one sees in some circles and the big bands one hears in others. And what about the 45 minutes of hill-song-choruses about “me” and “I” and mountains and such edifying stuff performed to set the mood for a sermon on bringing one’s tithes into the Lord’s storehouse?

Back when I was in Bible College, a wise old Professor told me that, “A Pastor feeds his church out of the storehouse of a lifetime spent seriously studying the word; and, if you don’t take your studies seriously, you won’t be have anything to feed them with. You can’t share what you don’t have.” And, at least in evangelicalism, that’s exactly the situation we’re in right now: People trying to share what they don’t have. We’ve exchanged worship for performance, preaching for platitudes, righteousness for politics, and genuine ministry for an ever more worldly and, in my mind, cynical set of “programs.”

I know I’ve been rather cynical in the comments above, it comes from a lifetime spent ‘studying the word’ with evangelical glasses firmly in position between my mind and my bible. Mind you, once those glasses got lost the bible seemed much less like an inexhaustible gold mine of lessons for life and much more like the reflections of godly people on the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Then the Word became a person and the bible a book witnessing to him. And sermons became homilies that were about 10 minutes or a little more and songs were not sung to set the mood and tithing became a provision of the old covenant for the support of the religious apparatus of temple worship and the day to day application of the Levitical/Mosaic law to the life of the nation. Suddenly there was some clarity and expositions that were subject to the whim of a preacher’s immediate needs and/or views about what his congregation needed to hear vanished away like a mist that had obscured the beauty of the land that we’ve inherited in Christ.

No, I am not nostalgic about the good old days when Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones was all the rage or when Spurgeon’s sermons were thought to be a model of godly-clarity-and-evangelical-culture.

Humble apologies for voicing these thoughts. It just seems that nostalgia for a past age was being vented and a venting of alternative perspectives looked opportune :slight_smile:

I go to a baptist church on Sunday morning and than Saturday nights I will go with my wife to a catholic mass. One of the catholic churches we go to is pretty good and I have a good relationship with the priest but there is another catholic church we go to, on occasion, that I enjoy more because the priest takes his time in the homily and focuses on the verses. I like that though, I like when people teach through a book of the bible verse by verse because it makes your stay on topic and talk about things you may not want to talk about. It is hard to find churches like this though. It doesn’t have to be any type of christian church just one that remains faithful to the word. The teachings never go against the bible but they will apply verses to things in life that throws it out of context or something. Its like people saying I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and they are talking about passing a math test or being good in sports or something. Its not against the bible but it isn’t exactly what Paul was talking about. Paul was talking about more than those things. Anyways, I’ve been blessed with some godly men in my life that teach small groups through books of the bible. That is where I find expository teachings.

Basically I guess to make this short find get a small group going. Ask if your priest or preacher or whatever if they would lead the group through a book of the bible. Not sure if this helped or not but I gave it a shot.

@ MoreCoffee:

In general I pretty much agree with you. Expository preaching might be better if it wasn’t so tedious. Especially since a lot of times a pastor will spend around 10 min over-explaining a verse that is usually pretty straight forward, then tell a story and a joke, then rant about how bad off America is, then finally move on. (Of course I’m speaking mainly from personal experience, I don’t know how it might be for other churches.) Another thing I notice is that a lot of times a pastor will sort of read between the lines in a passage, or infer something, that really isn’t explicitly stated, and then make a long drawn out point from their inference. I know it’s happened several times at our church.

Yes indeed! Many an ‘expository sermon’ is little more than a pastor’s excuse for musing on the sins of the nation in which he/she lives and the terrible consequences of not adopting a solution that he/she will propose in the rest of the sermon.

On another forum I am watching a discussion about the letters to the seven churches in the province of Asia (Rev chapters two & three). The main protagonist in that discussion is telling all his readers why the seven churches are really seven church-ages and why we are living in perilous times. It is interesting reading giving an insight into a world of theology (end times related) with which I have little familiarity. But what strikes me most is why the Lord would be talking about church-ages when he specifically gives the location/name of the province in the Roman empire within which the seven churches were to be found. Why speak of the seven churches in the province of Asia (Revelation chapter one) if one really means the seven churches that typify the seven ages to come for the universal church? I think this is an example of ‘exposition’ in preaching that in reality is ‘eisegeting’ a passage to prove a point.

Life is complex enough as it is without all these amazing fantasies about what the text of scripture ‘really means’.

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