Today's Word for Pastors...
Today's Preaching Insight...
In an article on "The Theology of Sermon Design" in the Sept-Oct 2007 issue of Preaching, Dennis Cahill writes, "Karl Barth, in his volume Homiletics, states, ‘There is no need, then, to consider the problem of what should come first, second, and third. The preacher has only to repeat what the text says.' Barth rejects introductions, conclusions, and sermon divisions out of his theological conviction that humanity can do nothing to make the Word of God effective and should not try to do so, perhaps because of his dislike for the artiness of the sermons of his day. For Barth, sermon form only served to obscure the Word of God. Preachers, he argued, need not make much of the issue of sermon form.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that the biblical preachers and writers did have a concern for design. Long argues that the New Testament writers were intentional in their rhetorical design and that New Testament preaching was based on the preaching of the synagogue, which was complex in its communication strategy.
Consider the difference between Paul's sermon in Acts 13 to a largely Jewish audience in the synagogue and his sermon in Acts 17 to a Gentile audience in the Greek marketplace. In Acts 13 Paul's sermon is filled with Old Testament references and theology. In Acts 17 Paul takes a very different approach, appealing to an altar to ‘an unknown God' and quoting from Greek poets, while not using a single quotation from the Hebrew Scriptures. These two sermons reflect different audiences and thus different rhetorical designs. They are designed differently, but they are designed.
Form is inescapable. Even if one simply reads the text, issues of design must be considered."
This Week's Laugh
The Evangelical Press Association (EPA) website recently shared the following: Christianese is a language used in the Christian subculture and understood easily only by other practicing Christians. As Christian communicators it's important to avoid words in our writing that could be misunderstood or fail to communicate — terms that have meaning only in the Christian subculture.
As a public service, here are some common phrases used in the church, along with their English-language equivalents:
Christianese: "If it be God's will."
Translation: "I really don't think God is going to answer this one.
Christianese: "Let's have a word of prayer."
Translation: "I am going to pray for a long, long, long time."
Christianese: "That's not my spiritual gift."
Translation: "Find someone else."
Translation: "Organized gluttony."
Christianese: "The Lord works in mysterious ways."
Translation: "I'm totally clueless."
Christianese: "Lord willing . . ."
Translation: "You may think I'll be there, but I won't."
Christianese: "I don't feel led."
Translation: "Can't make me."
Christianese: "God led me to do something else."
Translation: I slept in instead of going to church.
Christianese: "God really helped me with this test."
Translation: "I didn't study but I guessed good, so I'm giving God credit in the hope that He helps me again."
Christianese: "She has such a sweet spirit!"
Translation: "What an airhead!"
Christianese: "I have a 'check' in my spirit about him."
Translation: "I can't stand that jerk!"
Christianese: "I'll be praying for you."
Translation: "There's an outside chance I'll remember this conversation later today."
Christianese: "Prayer concerns"
Christianese: "In conclusion . . . "
Translation: "I'll be done in another hour or so."
Christianese: "Let us pray"
Translation: "I'm going to pretend to talk to God now, but I'm really preaching at you."
Christianese: "You just have to put it in God's hands."
Translation: "Don't expect me to help you."
Christianese: "God wants to prosper you!"
Translation: "Give me all your money."
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