Disdain for Preachers and Preaching

“Much of the emergent disdain for preachers is really an uneasiness about authority and control. Discussion, yes. Dialogue, yes. Group discernment, yes. Heralding? Proclamation? Not on this side of modernism. But is it really modernism we are rejecting or something weightier? The decline in preaching goes hand in hand with a lost confidence in the importance of truth claims. Preaching presupposes there is a message that must be proclaimed and believed. The very act of verbal proclamation by one man to God’s people assumes that there is a word from God that can be ascertained, understood, and meaningfully communicated. This is what is being objected to in preaching, not simply the specter of modernism.

I find it disconcerting that Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz is supposed to be the new model for leadership. ‘Rather than being a person with all the answers, who is constantly informed of what’s up and what’s what and where to go, she is herself lost, a seeker, vulnerable, often bewildered,’ writes McLaren. ‘These characteristics would disqualify her from modern leadership. But they serve as her best credentials for leadership in the emergent culture.’ In the emergent church, pastors should move from broadcaster to listener. From warrior-salesman to dancer. From problem solver to quest inspirer. From knower to seeker.

No doubt, there are times when the pastor is facilitator and fellow seeker. But there are also times – every Sunday, in fact – when he must be a herald. And as he ministers among God’s people, he should be able to say, by the grace of God, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ’ (1 Cor. 11:1). It sounds humble when Pagitt says he doesn’t want to be his people’s pace car. But aren’t overseers supposed to be above reproach (Titus 1:6), able to instruct in sound doctrine and rebuke those who contradict it (1:9), and in all respects a model of good works (2:7)?”

– Kevin DeYoung, Why We’re Not Emergent (pp. 159-160)

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19 thoughts on “Disdain for Preachers and Preaching”

  1. Kevin DeYoung is just brilliant. I’ve seen him speak on several occasions, and his preaching is both humorous and hard-hitting. He’s easily one of my favorite preachers I’ve ever heard.

    1. Agreed. Agreed. And agreed. :D I love Kevin DeYoung’s writing and preaching – like you said, he manages to be powerful and humorous at the same time. Glad to hear your a “fan” as well. ;)

  2. Thank you for posting this, Ink Slinger. In my safe church cocoon where the preacher still preaches, I did not know this was a trend. I appreciate your digestible bites that help me keep up with what is going on in the rest of the world. Sounds like a book I need to read.

    1. Be thankful for that “safe church coccon” – it’s far better than some of the “experiments” that others are trying. :)Why We’re Not Emergent is a very enlightening and thought-provoking read. I think you’d enjoy it. :)

  3. I haven’t had a chance to grab this one yet, but Just Do Something by DeYoung was great. He has a new book The Hole In Our Holiness coming out soon that looks pretty good as well. Thanks for sharing the quote.

  4. Dear Ink Slinger,

    Putting this one on the “to get” list. I really appreciate Kevin DeYoung stepping up to the plate on a lot of hot button issue relevant to the church today. Really looking forward to this book:)

    For those who are not very well versed on the “Emergent Movement” I would recommend Pastor Gary Gilley’s book “This little Church Stayed Home”. It is by far the most concise, easily digested overview of the emergents that I have had the pleasure to read. It is an excellent primer for D.
    A. Carson’s thorough, academic handling of the post modern invasion in his book, “Becoming Conversant With The Emerging Church”.

    Keep up the good fight! charisse

  5. Amen! Lord, give us more preachers who aren’t afraid to boldly proclaim the truths of the Bible with that prophetic edge that unabashedly declares, “Thus says the Lord!”

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