Preaching Christ

“Faith is not built by preaching introspectively (constantly challenging people to question whether they have faith); faith is not built by preaching moralistically (which has exactly the opposite effect of focusing attention on the self rather than on Christ, in whom our faith is placed); faith is not built by joining the culture wars and taking potshots at what is wrong with our culture. Faith is built by careful, thorough exposition of the person, character, and work of Christ….

We feed on Christ himself, and we do so not by some physical eating of his body, but through faith in the Christ proclaimed in Word and sacrament. These four alternatives [moralism, how-to, introspection, and social gospel] have left much of the evangelical and Reformed church malnourished. People know what they ought to do, but they are dispirited and lethargic, without the vision, drive, or impetus to live with and for Christ. And the reason for this dispirited condition is that the pulpit is largely silent about Christ. He is mentioned only as an afterthought or appendage to a sermon; in many churches, he is never proclaimed as the central point of a sermon, and surely not on a regular, weekly basis.”

—T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers (P&R 2009) pp. 75—76, 88—89.

4 thoughts on “Preaching Christ

  1. This is true all around the world, also in Finland where I live. If one is interested about christian things ( in the church ), thats okay, but if one tries to stay interested and focused in Jesus, thats considered strange. And yet He is the only thing we really need! Fortunately, God the Father glorifies His Son and helps us to understand and to want the right things, that is His Son!!!

  2. Just for the sake of getting it out there, here is the flip-side to the issue: the danger of over-emphasis, or maybe small-emphasis on Jesus Christ. There is within the church today a group that tends to preach focusing on Christ, but it is an under-defined Christ. They argue that what we are to preach is the Romans road and nothing else, and say that preaching on the nature of God the Father or the work of the Holy Spirit is wrong because we are not focusing on Christ. This is of course, nonsense.
    The point of focusing on Christ is to realize that all the world is the story of a Father working His will through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole of Scripture is about Christ, from Genesis to his glorious Revelation, and the whole of creation speaks and reflects back His glory and His nature.
    This is a good post. I’ve just been thinking about this since the post of quotes by Spurgeon and some of the discussion I had with friends who read it.

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