Because I’m a Presbyterian, I keep a close watch on the news surrounding the Mother Kirk back in Scotland. The Church of Scotland is entering the final downhill slide in its long descent into irrelevance, and seems to have taken some lessons from its American children, as you can see from this article in The Scotsman.
The Church of Scotland has evicted the rightful congregation of St. George’s Tron Church in Glasgow because the congregation has left the denomination over its decision to ordain clergy in homosexual relationships.
But it’s not the ongoing row over gay clergy that I find interesting here, even though evaluating the situation in the Church of Scotland would be interesting. What I suspect would be more instructive would be an examination of how the Kirk reached this point.
I’ve been watching the news of the Conneticut shooting since it broke. I’ve seen the folks from both sides of the political divide already posting their rants in my Facebook feed.
Perhaps the reaction that most makes me want to pull out my hair are the folks who keep referring to the shooter, America, and law-abiding gun-owners as “sick”.
The shooter wasn’t sick – he was evil.
Law-abiding gun-owners aren’t sick. They are exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.
America isn’t sick. What’s wrong with our nation is that we’ve stopped calling evil what it is, and tried to relegate it to the level of sickness. Sick young men didn’t shoot up a high school in Littleton, Colorado. A sick young man didn’t open fire at Virginia Tech. It wasn’t a sick man who killed innocents at the Dark Knight premiere. Evil men did these things.
Call it what it is. Pure, unadulterated evil. The problem isn’t guns, or “young men subject to impulses”. The problem is that the heart of man is deceitfully wicked, and dwells on evil continually. The problem is that man is a rebellious sinner.
The solution is the gospel.
For those who are interested, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has done a good job of replying to Dr. Bart Ehrman’s cover article in Newsweek; moreover, he does a great job of dissecting Newsweek’s bias, as well. You can read his thoughts here.
R.L. Dabney is better known today for his extraordinary idiosyncracies and and rabid racism than for his careful education of future preachers. Yet in 1870, Dabney produced a work called Sacred Rhetoric (now titled Evangelical Eloquence and published by the Banner of Truth Trust). Along with On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons by Broadus, Dabney’s work was a standard text on homiletics in the nineteenth century, and was quite well reviewed, even by Anglican, Baptist, and Methodist sources. While most of us would find his emphasis and thorough examination of ancient rhetoric unnecessary at best, I don’t know of anyone who would dispute the two chapters where he explains “the cardinal requisites of the sermon”. Continue reading
I need to begin this post by thanking Doris, who left some heart-wrenching comments that you can find here. Without her insights, I wouldn’t have been spurred to consider a short (perhaps) series on the characteristics of relevant preaching.
Much of what I will have to say here is said better elsewhere by R.L. Dabney and Pierre Ch. Marcel. For those who are interested in further reading about preaching, I would also recommend reading John Carrick, T. David Gordon, and John A. Broadus. If you can only have two of these books in your library, I would highly recommend that you purchase The Relevance of Preaching by Marcel, and Why Johnny Can’t Preach by T. David Gordon.