The state of the “Pulpit”

If we can even call it that at some churches.

Call me a nit-picker, opinionated, or just down-right rude, but I have a problem with they way some pastors (and I do use the term lightly in this instance) treat preaching. At the moment, I am referring to our friend Rob Bell. Now, we’ve had some troubles and discussions in the past about him, but he recently did an interview where he was talking about Evangelicalism. Mike Pohlman over at the Gospel Coalition brought this to the blogosphere this morning and had a great, short post offering a quick critique. So I read the interview, and saw something else that was disturbing.

On Preaching

Here’s a blurb from the interview:

Q. Do you preach, or perform?

A. I came up through your standard go-to-seminary path, served as an apprentice pastor, did weddings and funerals and hospital visits, but I always veered toward creating things. I was always setting stuff on fire, building things, bringing in piles of dirt. And I started to realize that there’s a dimension to the sermon in which it’s a kind of performance art. Over the years, I’ve realized that I have as much in common with the performance artist, the standup comedian, the screenwriter, as I do with the theologian. I’m in an odd world where I make things and share them with people.

You see, there is an issue here. If we are to be preaching the Word of God to people, we must be taking it seriously. Preaching is not a performance art. Preaching is proclaiming God’s truth to a sick and dying world. As a pastor, you are not a stand up comedian (there are good, funny Christians that make that their job) or a common performer (and God has called many people to perform for His glory). You are a preacher who is to take the Bible seriously and bring the Gospel truth to the world.

And Paul says…

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”- 1 Corinthians 2.1-5

All this to say, Bell needs to be careful. By likening his preaching to stand-up comedy or performance art he is close to resting on the wisdom of men and not the power of God.


One thought on “The state of the “Pulpit”

  1. John Guy September 29, 2009 / 18:14

    I agree Jakob, although there are a lot or preachers out there that the “flock” love. Do they love the man or the message. This would be a great blog for all to ponder. “Don’t set your sights on man for he will fail you”. I know, I paraphrased this but it is true. We all fail.

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