Saturday, October 26, 2013

What Should We Preach? Give Them Christ

We now live in a country saturated with seeker-sensitive and self-help sermons. Many of the basic tenants of the Christian faith are be growing fuzzy or extinct in the minds of many church-goers, and when they hear a doctrinal sermon, such as a message on the atonement, it's one note that gets banged on ad infinitum like my two year old daughter playing the piano. Where is the wonder and the beauty of Christ? Where is the manifold splendor that the writers of the New Testament express? No wonder Christian intellects have become scarce of late. Our churches are giving them Novocain--numbing them to Gospel by telling them that this one note encompasses the totality of the Gospel

"Ah, I've heard that a million times." Yawn. "I want to hear something new and fresh. What about my needs?"

To which the churches have responded with "How To Make A Better You." But as Dr. Seamands reminds us, "Often our felt needs are not our truest or deepest needs." Do we feel that there is a sickness in the American Church? Do we sense that there is something missing? "Periods of revival and reformation are always marked with a renewed emphasis on the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ."

Stephen Seamands--my theology professor in seminary--has issued a statement to the church at large that we must return to the basics of preaching Christ, preaching his incarnation, cross, resurrection, ascension, and return. This is a book for preachers--a book on preaching. But it is not a "how to," it is a "what to." Seamands takes the theological aspects of each of these events in the life of Christ (and many that have either been unnoticed or neglected) and draws out the significance for the Christian life. People in the pews do need to know how the Bible applies to them. They need to know why theology is important. The strength of this book is that it examines the "so what" of Christology, making it accessible to lay people without dumbing it down.

Seamands writes with a clear and simply style, always looking for examples from culture, his own life or the lives of others to illustrate his points. He excels in synthesizing information into an easy to use and highly readable format. This is one of those books I will be pulling off my shelf next time I preach. Actually, I referenced it recently while reworking a lesson on the Cross for some junior high and high school students. I found it beneficial, as someone who has a tendency to become very academic, for connecting the Gospel to my students. I highly recommend it.