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"...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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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « It IS the wrath of God | Main | Images of the Savior (48 -- Conclusion) »

    Criteria For Evaluating Preaching

    An elder at my church kindly passed on this helpful list of CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING PREACHING…
    In 4 “bullet point” form gives a few things to think about if you are evaluating or considering a preacher when on a pastoral search committee. No doubt there are other things to look for but these are a good place to start.

    • Authoritative – this “text” is binding upon believers and not to be demeaned.
    • Logical – the train of thought is followed easily and well structured.
    • Don’t talk about self – leave “me” of the message (talk about us and them but not me) - points to Christ.
    • “Take Aways” – What is the message about, and what is the listener to learn and remember for the day/weeks ahead.

    Did the sermon comfort the distressed? – God has made provision
    Did it distress the comfortable? -God is relentless in reminding us that “our relationship with Him lasts because He chooses us, not because of our devotion and/or obedience.”

    If we only do the former we’ll comfort the self-righteous; if we only do the latter, we’ll lose our audience without Christ. Feel free to add more in the comments.

    Posted by John on March 12, 2009 04:40 PM

    Comments

    This is good stuff. Although, I'm not sure I can agree with the third point, "leave 'me' out of the message". I've heard many sermons preached effectively, holding to all the other suggestions, but were made more poignant in the hearer's ear because the preacher used himself as an illustration piece.

    If you're saying leave out, "I do this" or "you should do this because I do", then I totally agree. But if you're saying, "this is how this word has come to affect me..." then I would have to disagree.

    Acts is riddled with instances of testimony, particularly from Paul. And, the epistles have a great deal of foundation in the writers saying, "I have experienced this" or "this is what God has done with me." The ME isn't absent in scripture.

    It seems that point might stand for some clarification.

    I totally agree with all the points listed even with the "me" point. I believe that the man preaching is preaching the oracles of God and thus to make Gods Word effective to its fullest potential one most preach as effectively as possible. Most of the references from the previous comments suggest times of evangelistic preaching done outside the corporate church not the preaching done in the church for the edification of the saints.

    Just my thoughts.

    William is right, Shane is wrong.

    That is true that many of the references in scripture are examples of preachers preaching outside the church. But there are virtually no examples of what the preaching sounded like inside the church. The closest we really have is the pastoral epistles, which make quite a few references to the "me".

    I would like a little clarification on where in the pastoral epistles we find "me" in the sense of Preaching in the Church as noted in the comment.
    Starting in the OT we do not find "me" but rather Thou Shalt’s directly from God. More over Heb. 12:25 clearly represents the preacher Preaching Gods Word as one speaking in behalf of Christ in front of God read Heb. 12:22 “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels …” and verse 23 “and to the assembly of the first born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect”. Now knowing Christ was without sin and knowing He did not use "me" 'following the intent of this post' how do you say using "me" “Brings home the bacon” so to speak in light of Heb. 12.
    Furthermore 'speaking of the pastoral epistles' how can the Scripture be profitable for rebuke or reprove or ANTHING else for that matter if it is based upon the preacher using "me" for” illustration” (meaning clarification/understanding or to even solidify a point “I assume that’s what you mean by saying poignant and illustration”). By allowing this “me” you are raising up the preacher and putting him on a pedestal, you are putting his illustrations above Gods revealed Will. You are ultimately increasing him and not Christ. John the Baptist understood this very well in his preaching. You are ripping the Authoritative Word 'meaning’ “as if Christ is speaking” away from Christ and His Church. I see no value of adding “me” in light of the ‘pastoral epistles’ or any other part of Scripture. In fact I can go into great detail how it is not found at all when speaking in the Church Corporately. Do we as preachers use “me” for illustration when coming to the Lords Table?
    I tend to follow Calvin and Luther and a large group of reformers on this point. I do not see authority in the Word when the preacher includes himself "me" in his preaching. It renders the Word ineffective and as folly and completely negates (at the heart of the matter) the death burial and resurrection and takes away Christ’s authority over His Church which is given Him by God the Father where He is ruling and reining over His Church now. It strips Christ’s authority away and places it upon the man preaching. Christ doesn’t need us to preach His Word instead He uses us to preach HIS WORD thereby nullifying and part of us as important. The Word is profitable for everything without adding anything to it let alone “me” for understanding.
    Therefore it weakens the Church on a human level (not Gods) and allows for all kinds of un-Biblical teachings and leaves the Church with no way to rebuke or correct un-Biblical teaching because it has put sinful "me" in the place of Christ rendering the Gospel a "self centered" gospel and not based on the authority of Scripture rather on the authority of man in turn creating a comparison between man and man instead of God and man. It gives hearers the opportunity to compare themselves to a sinner and not to the Head of the Church Christ who is completely sinless.
    Using “me” borders on raising up teachers for itchy ears. While it is true we are sinful and the preacher is sinful all the people in the congregation already know this. They already know the teaching is somewhat flawed (because of sin)but they are suppose to respect the elder not because he is sinless but because of his labor of work in the ministry as a sinner knowing that it is upon Christ that he draws his strength and understanding of the Word. Knowing that it is because of Christ he is able to preach the Word and love the sheep. The people know that the preacher suffers the same things they do that is not the point. The point is Christ the example is Christ the illustration is Christ all things point to Christ in our preaching. When we add “me” it always points to “me” not to Chirst. We are to preach with all authority given by Christ Himself to His people for His Church not "me" included.

    Shane said:

    "I do not see authority in the Word when the preacher includes himself "me" in his preaching. It renders the Word ineffective and as folly and completely negates (at the heart of the matter) the death burial and resurrection and takes away Christ’s authority over His Church which is given Him by God the Father where He is ruling and reining over His Church now. It strips Christ’s authority away and places it upon the man preaching."

    Sharing an illistration of God's Grace in one's own life does not strip the Word of its authority at all. The preacher does not need to pretend he does not exist to honour God in his preaching. No-one here is saying we should base our preaching on our own experiences or glorify ourselves.

    There is a clear biblical call to make much of Christ, and little of ourselves. But there is no such requirement never to mention ourselves in our preaching.

    Ross said

    "There is a clear biblical call to make much of Christ, and little of ourselves. But there is no such requirement never to mention ourselves in our preaching."

    I ask you where does it say you should mention yourself? My anwser is the same to as you wrote to me, but I have proof in Scripture you have none. How about Paul only teaching Chirst and Him crucified, how about 2nd. Cor. 4:5 (find away around that one)!!!

    Secondly you have made no mention of how it does not strip away Chirst authority I have given a lot of examples of how it in fact does. Please use Scripture for your arguments so that we are all standing on the same playing field otherwis there is no accountablity to our own thoughts this is excatly what I meant by using "me" you have no captivity (control) over your ownself. Please understand that I did not say the pastor does not exist and I never said anyone was pretending. THE PREACHER STANDS AS IF HE IS CHRIST AND THE PEOPLE MUST SEE HIM AS SUCH. I am not saying he is Christ I am saying he is in fact speaking in behalf of Christ to His people. If you us "me" it goes against Scripture and you are in grave danger of rightly dividing and handling the word if you use "me". I have a lot more Scripture in both OT and NT if you need them. Please bring something in the form of Scripture to the table to make your point!!!

    I thought I should throw this in the mix 1 Cor. 1:17 I meant to put it in the last post.

    I agree with all the criteria andalso with William. Some of my favorite audio sermons Ive heard involve the "Me" element, and it makes a point quite a bit more memorable when applied to a real person's life.

    I'd like to add another quality that I abhor - Preachers who get emotional to the point of crying.
    I absolutely hate that. If I hear that I'll never listen to the person again. I can give two specific preachers whose audio's I was listening to and they did this - Justin Harris and Paul Washer. Because they did that I have never listened to another one of their audio's.
    It's just my own personal thing and it just rubs me wrong. It may not be a problem for others, but I can't stand it. Maybe it's because I am very unemotional, almost Mr. Spock-ish, I dont know, but there it is.

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