Radical words from two authors – and I think they’re on to something.
Darrell Johnson writes:
I want now to do what I can to lift a horrible burden off of preachers. It is the burden of “applying the text” to the everyday life of the listeners. Yes, we can, and we should, try to help people understand the text’s radical implications. But applying the text is not the preacher’s responsibility. (The Glory of Preaching: Participating in God’s Transformation of the World
Johnson does a great job of explaining the difference between implications (which are good) and applications (which aren’t as good). His whole chapter is worth reading if you are provoked by an earlier post I did called Forget Remembering: Aiming for More in Preaching.
One more author, and one more quote:
I’ve spent years trying to convince pastors and preachers that the application part of the sermon is the boring part, the part that doesn’t really do us much good … The way to make a real change in people’s lives is not by telling them how to change their lives, but by telling them about Christ and how he has changed everything — including their lives, their identities, and their future…
My contention is that the kind of sermon that gives us real help living the Christian life is not about us but about Christ. It does not tell us what to do, but what Christ does. (Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don’t Have to Do
Provocative and helpful. What do you think?