Touchy Preaching Topics
Toni Ridgaway wrote an article some time ago where he goes on to say that 55% of pastors report topics they either preach on sparingly or not at all. Here is the list from the article:
Politics – 38 percent
Homosexuality – 23 percent
Abortion – 18 percent
Same-sex marriage – 17 percent
War – 17 percent
Women’s role in church and home – 13 percent
The doctrine of election – 13 percent
Hell – 7 percent
Money – 3 percent
I cannot help but wonder the reasons behind these statistics, that seem to reflect what I hear proclaimed and shared across pulpits throughout America in the 21st century. Rarely do we push the political button; and when we do, it typically bleeds the typical right-wing, Jerry Falwell, type of lingo that describes the ‘left’ as the Devil and everything on the ‘right’ as endorsed by God. Homosexuality and Same-sex attractions are quite prevalent in most churches, yet rarely is it addressed though often condemned or explained. The woman’s role in the church and home remains as untouched as ancient times, while many leaders fail to realize the woman’s role in the 1st century and prior were non-issues, in that day, just as were any other minority, including Gentiles. While it is addressed in the scripture (the role of women, Gentiles, etc.) we discard it an issue already covered in past times, that needs no further explanation. Election? Too complicated! Hell? Too mean! Money? Too personal! War? Too political.
We are living in a different era and time. As a consequence, these issues can no longer be ignored! At some point, messages that consist of ‘feel good’ placebo and focus on ‘haters’ will one day wear on God’s people. Well, atleast those who want more with regard to their faith in action amid a world that is vying for their attention and affections. Preaching on success in the workplace, at home and in finances are all important; and I believe these matters are addressed in scripture. But happens next after I have preached on success and the next level for the man in the pew (or pulpit) who is struggling with homosexuality? Or for that matter, he is no longer ‘struggling’ with it. What about the woman or girl who is surrounded by lesbian thoughts and tendencies? Or the person trained to believe that Christians are Republicans and non-believers are Democrats; and that giving a woman the right to choose is automatic murder while putting young troops in harm’s way in senseless war is noble? As a result, our churches are becoming a place where we talk about Heaven, and shout around the building about what’s on the way. However, we go home and live the same defeated lives.
I contend that BEING church far outweighs HAVING church. But I also believe that it is very possible to HAVE BOTH! However, when PASSION retards PROGRESS, how does this glorify the God Who created us?
The good news is – there is a way to address all of these issues without trying to figure out where to start. And there are a remnant of pastors and preachers who are doing it. It is through the verse-by-verse exposition of God’s Word. Anyone who would pick up God’s Word, open it, read it, study it and explain it…will, at some point, come across the aforementioned topics. This is necessary in teaching the people who hear (and proclaim) God’s Word to go home and LIVE the abundant life. And the exposition of the scripture inevitably shows us the HOW TO, and not just the WHAT! It is one thing for me to tell a person how nice Pebble Beach is; but it is another thing to tell them how to get there. Let us not spend so much time in our preaching, teaching and leading simply telling people how nice heaven is, and how great the next level is; but let us tell them practically, in God’s Word, how to get there. This is the challenge for me, in my dealings!
What say you?