Preachers, don’t be like these guys. Listeners, ignore these guys. They preach sermons that can be categorized as “bad”, which I referred to previously.
- Mr. Text Chicken- Text Chickens commonly give the impression that they are about to fully and faithfully expose a richly challenging text. They have you open to the passage, read it, perhaps they’ll intro it, and then they get out of the text as soon as they can. Text Chickens would rather go to all the cross references and talk about the nice ideas of the passage and thus neglect the challenges of the text. It’s a great way to teach people to ignore Scriptural challenges and leave your listeners wondering what a great message it could’ve been.
- Mr. Clever but Not Clear- He sounds cool. He’s funny. He tells great stories. The text is a springboard for his personality. He can say great things about everything except that which flows directly from Scripture. When a preacher attempts to drive the passage, rather than the other way around, he will create an atmosphere where people love the person of the stage, rather than the Person of the Word. Listeners should leave connected to the truth of the text. If God’s Word isn’t the clearest thing about the message, the preacher might be the greatest obstacle.
- Mr. Good Idea but Bad Hermeneutics- Just because “it’ll preach” doesn’t mean you should. Anytime a preacher gets an idea and sacrifices solid interpretation to fulfill it, he is a manipulator. I once heard a Sunday school lesson on the humility of Christ. It was tied to Isaiah 53 where Isaiah seems to reference the Servant’s physical appearance (verse 2). The application was something like this, “One reason Jesus was humble was because he wasn’t physically impressive.” Unique, except that it misses the whole point of Isaiah 53. In teaching Scripture, there is no better method than letting it speak for itself.
Listener, be alert for when Scripture is minimized, ignored, or avoided. These are just a few of the subtle text denigrations that you should be on the watch for.
Preachers and listeners, may we press on to keep Scripture primary, sin exposed, and Christ central.