Yesterday, I responded to two pragmatic arguments that are being offered in defense of preaching the sermons of another pastor. Today, I’m adding a third response to the pragmatic defense of ‘borrowing’ sermons.
3. The Spirit of holiness cannot bless lawbreaking
In the Ten Commandments, the final three are these (Exod. 20:15–17)
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s [sermon]; . . . anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Okay, “sermon” is not in the original, but sermons would fit under the category of “anything that is your neighbors.” Written by Spirit-led men who study the Scriptures, the sermon is a gift that pastors give to their congregations. In this way, a sermon should not be understood as “his own.” Possessiveness is never a healthy habit for pastors.
That being said, sermons are the intellectual property of the preacher, and should be treated as such. Thus, to preach someone else’s sermon breaks either the eighth, ninth, or tenth commandments, if not all of them. To see this, let’s consider each in order. Continue reading
For Your Edification is a weekly set of resources on the subjects of Bible, Theology, Ministry, and Family Life. Let me know what you think or if you have other resources that growing Christians should be aware.
BIBLE & THEOLOGY
The Danger of Pragmatism. Jared Wilson, “Gospel-centered” blogger, pastor, and author, provides a helpful look at pragmatism and its deletrious effect on biblical truth and faithful ministry.
Pastor Wilson lists six symptoms of pragmatism and seven ways churches and pastors can regain a biblical ministry.
Six Symptoms of Pragmatism
- Pastors increasingly hired for their management skills or rhetorical ability over and above their biblical wisdom or their meeting of the biblical qualifications for eldership.
- The equation of “worship” with a creative portion of a weekly worship service.
- The prevalent eisogesis in classes and small groups.
- The vast gulf between the theological academy and the church.
- Biblical illiteracy.
- A theologically lazy and methodologically consumeristic/sensationalistic approach to the sacraments.
Seven Ways to Fight Pragmatism
- Pastors must study and read, and read and study.
- Expository preaching.
- Pastors must bridge that gulf between the theological academy and the church.
- Churches should identify those with the spiritual gifts of teaching and leadership and make sure they are both discipled and discipling, mentored and mentoring.
- Impress upon every minister of the church the need for doctrinal soundness, especially those planning and leading “worship.”
- Recapture a vision for truth that makes the goal of theology a deeper relationship with God and greater affection for Christ.
- Recover the centrality of the Gospel.
Let me encourage you to read the whole blogpost and ask the question: Are you being shaped more by the pragmatic culture around you, or are you being shaped more by God’s truth?