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Against Mimes

July 17, 2017

The contemporary church in America seems to have displaced preaching. Modern culture does not like to be lectured at, so preaching should be replaced with a dialogue. The lower literacy and lower education of many working class people means they cannot follow the logical development of a sermon, so preaching should be replaced with compelling stories that stir the emotions of the hearer towards a desired response. People have many different learning styles, and the monologue only appeals to auditory learners, so the sermon should be supplemented with video, art, drama, music and motion. People come to church for a religious experience that can be found in many ways, so the sermon is not necessary. An art gallery can stir some people in ways a sermon cannot. An interpretive dance team moves others. An exciting concert can reach others. Some people don’t like going to church at all, so church can be held in a coffee shop with a few friends sitting around an iPhone listening to an inspiration U2 album. Preaching has fallen on hard times.

The pastor is commanded to speak. Popular or not the preaching of the Word of God is essential to the health of the church and integral to the work of the pastor. The ministry of the man of God is a vocal ministry. I know that seems to be a statement of the obvious, but amaingly the obvious has managed to be overlooked by many. The minister is to utter the truths of God’s Word.

He is not called to turn them into a dramatic mime. He is not commissioned to create incredible graphic designs. He is not sent to sway the world through compelling movies. He is sent to speak the truth of God. The post modern worldview believes that all truth is relative, nothing is absolute but all truths are subject to the circumstances of culture, individual and personality. As a result church growth and ministry experts insist that pastors need to spend less time lecturing. New, innovative ways of communicating have to be employed that will not suffer from the horrible stigma of preaching.

A new worldview is gaining ground, a world view that believes truth is personal. Truth is defined by the individual for his needs at that time and is unopposable by any one else. Authoritative preaching is even less tolerated. The experts now say the preacher must find ways to connect with his hearers by sharing his story, entering into their story and somehow helping them discover God for themselves.

The Bible has a problem with these views of ministry. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” (1 Corinthian 1) The method of communicating God’s message is prescribed by God. He knows how the world will react. The minister is not an innovator, but a herald sent out by his King to announce the King’s proclamations. The pastor must preach the truth of God’s Word. The proclamation of the Word of God is the only means God has ordained for the salvation of souls and the growth of believers.

P.S. I don’t actually dislike mimes. I just wish they’d speak up a little.


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