"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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    Musings on the Difficulties of Preaching

    Don't criticize your preacher too much. He has a hard job.

    Preaching is very personal. The preacher is vulnerable within the Community of God. He is weekly under the microscope, scrutinized by God and his people. You probably have no idea what that does to the dynamics of his personal and family life.

    The preacher must call to attention that very thing which threatens the core of his own autonomy as a sinful creature—it's sort of like diving on a grenade to save your friends. Except that it's really by throwing yourself on the Gospel Grenade that you're saved, so the preacher's really chucking them out there into the crowd—and not everyone is going to appreciate that way of salvation, that's for sure.

    The preacher can be tempted to preach for personal gain (i.e., flattering compliments or money). Or, conversely, the preacher can be tempted to coldly disregard any input received from the hearers—constructive or otherwise—in the name of "telling it like it is, whether they like it or not." In my estimation, it's nigh impossible to actually preach from selfless love, and to be sensitive to the true needs of the hearers (which they might like to communicate frequently through criticism).

    Remember that next time you talk to your preacher after the Sunday sermon.

    Posted by Eric Costa on August 9, 2007 06:02 PM

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