Saturday, June 20, 2009

Leviticus 1

The following is a Sermon on Leviticus 1 without having worked through the whole of Leviticus so I certainly could make emendations.

Who has read the book?

It seems pretty clear that some books of the bible are viewed both by Christians and preachers as being almost in the too hard basket.
Some preachers certainly view the book of Revelation as being a bit hard and they avoid preaching on it suggesting as one pastor once told me at the end of his career that it was too confusing to understand and he'd never preached on it. This despite the fact that the book of Revelation itself claims to be an unveiling not a cloaking of Who Jesus is!

With the book of Leviticus things are only slightly different.

How many have read the book, let alone heard a sermon on it?

Too many preachers have a penchant for only preaching the New Testament. Sure the book of Leviticus has subjects that at times don't appear relevant to us as Christians, for example all those chapters about regulations regarding infections and childbirth and mildew, and how about the "ordination" of the Priests, but that really reflects a poor understanding of the book itself.

So let's get into this book that so many ignore.

The book of Leviticus is part of the Torah, the first five books of Moses because he is the one who wrote them. He is said to have written them during the Exodus from Egypt so one of the things you need to ask is what did all this mean for Moses' hearers? What would it have meant for them to implement these laws?

Those are very good questions, something that can help us ponder what they then mean to us.

In verse 1 we read that "The Lord called to Moses."
Sometimes we miss the obvious because we don’t pay attention to detail.
Literally, the verse is “and He { the Lord ] called to Moses.”
Do you see that little word “and”. What’s it there for? It’s there to connect it to what came previously. And that’s the book of Exodus. You see there’s no break in God’s Word. It’s not as though the books of the Old Testament are a mere collection of different stories from different times. Thematically they connect! Theologically they connect!

From one little Hebrew word we are to get insight into what’s going on in Leviticus 1.

We could actually get there without this by asking a simple question.

From where did he call?

God is not distant in heaven! From the last chapter of the book of Exodus chapter 40 verses 34f we read that the Glory of the Lord is in the tabernacle. This is important for us to think through.

Back in Egypt whilst the people were in Egypt from the time of the famine, a new king arose who did not know about Joseph, and he persecuted the people of God by putting them under harsh labor. Exod 1.

And later we read God hears the groaning of the people of God who as slaves were suffering in Egypt. Exodus 2:23-25. “and God remembered his Covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.” That is, God had a history of promise with His people. It began with Abraham, then continued through Isaac and Jacob. God, we are being told, stands by His Promise.

What was His promise to Abraham? To make a people a nation, who He would bless, who would be a blessing, and He would stand by them. Genesis 12:1-3. So He selects Moses to represent His people, and we read in chapter 3 that the Lord God speaks to him out of a burning bush.

After the rescue, after salvation! Where he delivered them out of Egypt, just like we see in Exodus 20 where He reminds them of this deliverance before he tells them how they are to live in the 10 commandments. Then after all that, towards the end of the book of Exodus we read of the making of the tabernacle and the Glory of the Lord, that is, His presence comes to the tabernacle when the cloud, which guides them through the 40 years in the wilderness, comes over the tabernacle.

So God, who is with the people, His people, calls to Moses.

It is further in verse 1 of Leviticus 1 that we see the Lord God speaks to Moses. God is not Silent. He is able to be understood. He speaks and man is to listen.

So just what is God declaring? He tells us of the need for a sacrifice, the need for a burnt offering that is a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Three times this is repeated, and as I often like to remind people, God does not waste his breathe. He doesn't talk like us who just like to hear our own voice. When He repeats himself in the bible it's important. and so here we read three times what is pleasing to God, vs 9, 13 &17.

It's an offering from the herd, or from the flock or of birds. If anyone makes an offering this is how you are to do it.
You are to do it the way God says.
The Priest, that is those of the family of Aaron, vs 11 are to sprinkle the blood on the altar. Yet it's the person making the offering that slaughters the animal, they are the one's who we'd say "get their hands bloody" !
They are the one's who take the life of the animal.

And it will cost the offerer. It’s to be from the domesticated animals, his flock, not a wild animal, So you will see that it will be costly economically.

Why all this blood? Why all this death? It's because sin is serious! The sinner needs to bring a sacrifice for his sin. Death is required for sin. In the offenders place death must occur. And the offender is to place his hands on the animal in identification, in acknowledgment that this is what is happening.

{{ Yet whilst it is serious and while it is to be seen as an offering for sin, it is also an offering of worship which the Lord God is happy with. You could miss this point easily unless you compare it with later sacrifices where it is not a pleasing aroma to the Lord – all because the last two which are for expiation of sin are not dealing with communion as such. But we’ll see this when we get to them. }} – See Constable and work this through.

What I find interesting is that man, unbelieving man denies two of the clear points of this passage. Today man denies that God speaks. He denies that God has made His mind clear. They deride the bible. They continually say "Has God said", just as Satan asked Eve in the Garden of Eden.

And secondly they try to find excuses all the time for sin. They give it other names, they blame everything but the sinner. They redefine adultery to having an "affair". They blame his environment for what man does. Suggesting that if we only change his environment, or educate him that man won't do what we are forced at times to identify as evil.

However, we don’t understand a passage by merely contrasting it to how the world rejects it, to use it as a ramrod in our culture wars as T. D. Gordon would say.

Instead we still need to ask What Israel would have thought of this. What Moses hearers would have thought of what God required. Clearly if you want to please God, sacrifice needs to be made for our sin. If one is to be in communion with the Lord God sacrifice is required.

Now let’s see here that “the sons of Israel,” verse 2, “the Israelites” are the covenant people of God because of God’s promise to Abraham. They do not make this sacrifice to earn salvation. They make sacrifice so they can come back into communion with God once they have sinned.

Think about that for a moment. It has immense implications for your understanding of Who God is and who Israel are. This is for God’s believing people. This is for those who sprinkled blood on the doorposts in Egypt in faith so as to be delivered and have the angel of death Passover their eldest child.

These sacrifices are the means by which Israel sought and sustained their communion with God. The way God required it! The sense of God’s presence in all this is clearly brought out in the words used throughout – all this is done “before the Lordvs 3, that is He is present – and you have to grasp the severity of all this.

At the time of the Exodus from Egypt there were some 1.5 million people, and by this time there could at least have been two million. How do you carry out sacrifices on that scale for sin? It's not a picture of white robed priests and those that cut the throat of the animals in fine white linen but of blood covered offenders. Where in a desert do you get all that water required to clean your hands and clothes?

Is such a system workable? And if it isn't what does that mean? This is what the Lord God requires. So you cannot make excuses. But perhaps, just perhaps this is meant again to teach God's people that sacrifice is required for sin and He would do it through the Messiah, His lamb.

Here we pay attention to the fact that “a male sacrifice is required, one with out blemish.” These are not merely suggesting that The Lord God requires our best, but they are types for Christ, the true sacrifice for sin. READ Hebrews 9:14.

We won’t speculate on the notion that a male sacrifice is required here, for later on we read a female one is acceptable in one of the sacrifices. Yet we can have confidence that being without blemish is important as the New Testament refers a number of times to the lamb of God, Jesus being without blemish. Look at Paul’s quote in N.T.

So in verse 4 it's clearly stated that this sacrifice is for atonement. it carries the idea of sin being dealt with and cleansed, but also of ransom, see Leon Morris, and then also the notion that it accomplishes reconciliation between God and man.

And it further fits well with the Lord God's repeated point to His people throughout the Old Testament that the attitude of those that deal with this sin is important to Him.

You know of course that in a reconciled relationship your attitudes count. Your attitude to the other person matters. If you are ignoring them and don’t listen to them there’s a serious problem isn't there?

So also our attitude to sin is important. Just as the Israelites attitude to sin was important to the Lord. He requires a contrite and broken heart. those that mourn over their sin. He's not looking for someone who is merely perfunctionary about putting on a sacrifice. He's not looking for Priests, who almost mechanically go about their duties.

Consider Isaiah 66:2f "This is the one whom I esteem; he who is humble and contrite in Spirit, and trembles at my word. But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb like one who breaks a dogs neck.... they have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations .. [for] when I called no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened.. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me."

The one the Lord God esteems are those that are humble and contrite in spirit and listen to Him! They respond to what He says. They "tremble at His Word".

This is the same criticism that Jesus make of the Jews and leaders in His day. He pointed out in Matthew 5 what Kingdom people would be like. They are poor in spirit "they recognise their spiritual bankruptsy", They mourn, "mourn over their sin", they thirst for righteousness.

The Kingdom comes with the King not to throw out the Romans, it's not political oppression that is their, the people of Israel’s problem, but sin. Their problem is spiritual, not political.

How are we to see the application here in Leviticus 1?

Of course we recognise for us the immediate truth that Jesus is the final sacrifice, the on Who truly makes us right with God.

But before we jump into what’s in it for me, let’s see what this means for both the Jew and the also the Christian.

What we see here is that to Walk with God, to have communion with God requires sacrifice for our sin. For the Jew, he could not ignore What God requires. He needed to hear with humility that his sin was serious. When Jesus “the Lamb of God” came – and these are that great Old Testament prophet John the Baptists words, - He came to deal with Sin. He is God’s Answer, He the Messiah, is King, the promised King of Israel, and the King who came to die to make atonement for sin.

It tells us God’s ritual to come into His presence,

Can ritual be bad? Of course, and this was Jesus accusation against the Pharisees of his time. They were white washed tombs, cleaning the outside by performing bits and pieces of the law while remaining defiled inside! They needed to recognise who the Messiah was and Why He was there and welcome Him as King and Redeemer and Priest.

More importantly for Israel this book tells them how they can fulfil what God requires and what it means.

Back in Exodus 19:6 they are explicitly told they will be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

Wow what a privilege, what a standing. What honor.

And do you realise it’s really part of the covenant that God made with Abraham isn’t it – they will be a blessing to the world. This then as God’s continuing revelation helps them understand this come to grips with it.

But how can they be a holy nation when sin rears its ugly head. And when it does how can they commune with a holy God when sin happens?

There’s much more to see about them being a holy nation as the rest of Leviticus tells us – and we will soon see that. [ namely that they are separate, extremely different to the world and the requirements of God here in Leviticus mark them off objectively for all to see, from the nations around them ]

What then about us? For us Christians, what do we learn here?
Isn’t it amazing how the same notion is applied to Christians in 1 Peter2:9 ! You are a kingdom of priests, you are marked off.

And secondly, what are we to do when we sin? How are we to be restored? We understand that When Jesus the lamb of God, died on the cross he paid the penalty even for our future sins, but is there still something we are to do?

Look at 1 John 1:7-9. daily confess our sins and purpose to walk in God’s ways..

Lastly, from God’s word to the Jews, as found in Leviticus 1 we can take heart in the same Hope. The same Lord God who promised Israel, who made His covenant with them and faithfully kept it, is the Same God who holds us. Who transforms us into the likeness of His son Jesus.

What blessing when holiness is so awesome!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What Love - love in the New Testament

How often do we hear a sermon and the preacher makes a big deal out of love and yet fails to explain what love he is speaking of?

This becomes quite clear when we understand that in Greek there are four words for love.
There's phileo, eros, agape and storge.
Phileo is speaking brotherly love, such as in philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.
Yet it can also be understood more broardly as speaking of "friendship".

Then there's eros - from which we get the word erotic, meaning sexual love. However it can also mean passionate love and sensual desire. The Greek philosophers saw it not as necesarily about "physical attraction" but "appreciation of beauty itself ", that is not necessarily having to do with a person. Yet their notion of love was tied up closely with their search for Truth and Beauty and the good, so it was somewhat focused by those concerns.

Third, we have storge, "affection", that which Parent have towards their children or children towards their parents. It's that which is family love and is the one most often forgotten about.

Last of all and most importantly we have agape - that other person centred love, it is the word used most frequently for the love God shows towards mankind and shown by Jesus. That love we see Jesus exemplifying on the cross, dying for others sin. It is selfless love, doing what is needed for the other person.

As you study the Word of God, and you come across the word love, find out which one is being used as it will broaden and deepen your understanding of the text.

In Christ,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Preaching expository sermons on Leviticus

We have just begun a series of sermons on the book of Leviticus at church and it has spurred me to think about how I would preach through such an Old Testament book as Leviticus.

When you look at the book we quickly see there are many chapters on similar themes, for example sacrifice in chapter 1-5, then the Priesthood from 8-10 and so on. One is then tempted to lump them together and do a wholesale approach like taking the first 5 chapters together and do a thematic sermon for each group. Of course this is not expository preaching which I am committed to, even though there are times when I can see value in doing such a thematic preaching series from the bible.

Still I must ask myself "Have I preached through the book of Leviticus if I leave out chapters like chapter 5 and for the rest skim quietly over the text just drawing out the main theme of each chapter"?

My conclusion is no.

Still, having not preached through Leviticus I admire those who have attempted to preach it, either thematically or through expository preaching of the text. It is a daunting task, one that many leave undone altogether.

I have frequently seen on the internet preachers who take a "narrative" preaching tac with Old Testament books. That is, taking the section before them which can run into many chapters and then giving the general outline of the story and drawing an application from this.

This perhaps for some is prompted by the belief that the Old Testament books are primarily telling the story of Israel's birth as the people of God and then Israel's "story." For some this is then compounded by the view that since the Old Testament in it's early transmission was done orally, then the words and the phrases used are not of central importance. They seem to assume that oral transmission is of lesser accuracy than written transmission.

In practice we see this happen with some Preachers when they get past Genesis 12 with the choosing of Abraham by God. Suddenly they begin to choose a chapter or more at a time to preach from. However this leads to a neutered understanding of what God is teaching. We miss seeing the many connections with what the Lord God has already told Israel and us the readers, earlier.

To highlight just one example, when in Genesis 12 God says "Any one who curses you I will curse"

In this verse the words translated curse are different in these two cases. A point sadly missed by translators.
It says that any who even disdain Israel, God will curse! That gives it a whole different flavour doesn't it?

It tells us that Israel is indeed "the apple of His eye"! They are precious to Him.

If we pick up on this, something picked up from careful hermeneutics of the text and investigating each verse, then we see open for us a perspective that was previously hidden due to our "shallow" reading of the text. [ Again have a good read of T. D. Gordon "Why johnny can't preach" and the failure of preachers to understand the unity and argument and so on of the text. ]

With this perspective about Israel as precious to the Lord God and that God would curse those that even merely disdain Israel, what should the people of God have thought as they related to other nations? Further, do we not also see God's judgment on nations for their attitude and actions towards Israel throughout the Old Testament as fulfillment of this promise God made to Abraham?

That is just one example of taking careful note of what God says in His word. Can one not expect further reward when looking at other Old Testament books?

Some preachers approach to books like Leviticus is to see their importance in terms of generalities, in the sense of seeing types of Jesus prefigured by the sacrificies for example. Their basis for this is something I am intrigued by. Sometimes they justify their approach here by quoting Luke's statement in Luke 24 about Jesus comments to the two on the Emmaus road after His death and Resurrection.

In Luke 24 verse 27 we read "And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." But let's be careful about what Luke is actually saying here. Does it mean that every chapter is talkimg about Jesus as Messiah? Not at all. There are for example chapters that lay out in detail the dimensions of the Temple, how it was to be built, how those set aside were to minister in it, the priests, etc. What we cetainly gain from such chapters is the necessity of a sacrifice for sin, at other times what we see that the Messiah is portrayed through typology, and other times that he is the one promised whom God would send. When the bible speaks of Cain killing Abel it is not speaking in any way directly about Christ, but rather the spread of sin after the fall of Genesis 3. When it speaks twice in Genesis of Abraham passing his wife off as his sister it does not speak of Christ, but of man failing to Trust the promises of the Lord God.

What one can surmise is that Jesus raised with the two on the Emmaus road passages that spoke of Him, one like 2 Sam 7 the promised Messiah, or the promised Messiah of Isaiah 53, "the son" of Psalm 2 and so on.
The point of Jesus' teaching is that they all pointed to Him, the annointed one, the suffering servant, the Messiah.

Next time I will give a simple outline of what I see as some of the important preachable points of Leviticus 1.

In Christ,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why Johnny can't preach - T D Gordon

Every now and then you read something or hear someone speak and it just thrills you to bits. This happened for me a week ago when I listened to the online interview of T. David Gordon by Michael Horton over at the Whitehorse Inn.

I have been mulling over the issue of media and preaching taking note of people like Neil Postman and Marshall McLuhan for about the last 6 months. And suddenly I hear someone addressing the concerns in a much more clear and well argued way than I could.

T. David Gordon wrote a little book called 'Why Johnny can't Preach', its sub title being "The media have shaped the Messengers." He's not talking here about liberal left wing journalists pushing an anti-christian agenda through their media outlets. Rather he suggests that the types of media in our modern age, for example television, are having a major impact on up and coming preachers. The reason he called his book Johnny can't preach is that it follows on from the notions that are found in books such as Johnny can't read and Johnny can't write.

Media ecology is a term used to describe "how changes in dominant media alter the human and social environment." pg 16. we need to acknowledge and deal with a culture, one which we are included in, that is image based and has a predominance of electronic media. Where speaking on the phone is not the same as communicating via a letter.

T. David Gordon has voiced a concern that you find among some who fervently desire a real return to expository preaching. Not some glib allusion to a verse here and there but a solid exposition of the verses and their meaning and how they fit into a cogent unity and structure. Too often Preachers are settling to deliver stories or pick swaths of text to cover in one sermon, and yet the preacher fails to show the unity and structure of the text.

When people complain about a bad sermon or show distinterest in what is preached we are not allowed to wriggle out of it by saying that it's due to short attention span or spiritual apathy. Many times it's due to our poor preaching. We have failed to show them the development of the argument and the movement of God's Word.

Gordon speaks about the following points that should characterise a sermon.
1. Unity.
2. Order.
3. Movement. - each point takes us somewhere.
4. Point. - so arrive at a conclusion with real force, the person puts forth a powerful claim to us.
5. Textual fidelity - we have no authority, the Scriptures have that authority. These words are God's words. So we understand God is speaking to us.
6. Instruction. - to see what that biblical truth is.
7. evangelical tone.

He also says that if people heard a good sermon every week their attention span would grow. I didn't know this but in early American history it wasn't uncommon for people to go and listen to debates that lasted 6 hours, with one speaker giving his point for 3 hours and then another responding!

Some great quotes:
"Preachers are supposed to give people bread, not the bread factory."
"Our sheep do not need gourmet meals, but they do need good, solid nourishment."

Gordon makes the comment in another interview that at the end of the sermon we should ask - did you understand the point of that sermon?
Was there something holding it all together or was it just a collation of sermonettes? Now there's a challenge to preachers as they prepare their sermons.

In Christ,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Emergent conversation- good or bad? or perhaps in the middle

It isn't uncommon today to hear the word "conversation" or the phrase "having a conversation" in emergent circles in regard to talking about doctrine or methods of doing church or missiology.

Now what has struck me about this word conversation is how it was previously spoken of by Neil Postman in 'Amusing ourselves to death', a book he published back in 1985. Well before many of the emerging or emergent crowd were out of nappies.

First of all, I need to reject the objection that I am lumping emergents and emerging together, that I am taking them as synonymous. While I do see them as able to be distinguished, they do at times overlap and as pyromaniacs pointed out over at their blogspot, emergent can be treated as "a major influential element in the emerging conversation".

Secondly, so as not to fall prey to accusations of 'the genetic fallacy', that some may take what I say here to be saying that something is dubious because of its origin ( although it is at times proper to speak of such bad origins when satan is the source of something! ) I want to reject that notion up front. I am not saying that emergents picked up anything from Postman. Indeed I think he has some very valuable things to offer us to reflect upon and we and emergents could have learnt something valuable from Postman. While the terminology of "conversation" as some emergents use it seems to have strong similarities with Postman, the similarities have more to do with what Postman was countering. Listen to what Postman actually said back in 1985.

Postman used the word "conversation:" metaphorically to "refer not only to speech but to all techniques and technologies that permit people of a particular culture to exchange messages." pg 6. Further "in this sense all culture is a conversation or more precisely , a corporation of conversations , conducted in a variety of symbolic modes."

He then goes on "our attention here is on how forms of public discourse regulate and even dictate what kind of content can issue from such forms"

Sounds difficult doesn't it but it really isn't.

Consider his example of smoke signals by American Indians. They would not have been able to include philosphical discourse since they are insufficiently complex to do that. You wouldn't be able to have two indians conversing about the nature of existence using smoke signals. He said they'd run out of wood and blankets before the second axiom. The media just doesn't allow for philosophical argument.

I just love what Neil Postman says. It's so thought provoking. He seems to be describing exacty the situation of "conversation" that we find so prevalent today among emergents.
The trouble is, I think the emergents in many cases are settling for smoke signals.

Here I agree I need to carefully set out how I see emergents connection to the notion of "conversation" as Postman uses it.

I am not refering to the common notion of emergents as part of an "emerging conversation" which refers to a continued dialogue with others that the evangelical movement would have seperated from due to their unorthodox beliefs. I am using "conversation" to address the characteristics of an "emergent church service" such as Dr Sam Harbin described as follows: ( and has been described in magazines and newspaper articles about the emergent church )

"A place where ancient christian art decorates the walls, meditative activities at different stations around the room, ..." or there's prayer labyrinths, and someone writing in a worship journal, and or perhaps a stool on which sits at "pastor" having a discussion about christian things instead of a sermon and people mold playdoh into some model to represent the talk. A video screen off to one side of the room showing a plethora of images covering many subjects flashing by rapidly, and so on.

What we have going on here is the younger generations enthusiasm and predilection towards the media tools of the 20th and 21st century. Using different media to put across the gospel message as well as to teach the bible.

Now it's in that regard that what Postman was talking about has major ramifications in relation to Preaching. There are those who love to roll out the statement that "it doesn't matter what media you use, you just have to be faithful and true regarding the content", whereas the method they insist, can change, they declare they are faithfully keeping the message the same.

What they fail to understand is that the medium can distort, and even negate the message or be totally inadequte to convey the message.

They need to think more about Marshall McLuhan who said "the medium is the message".

Let me say that some emergents in their conversations about doctrine are so reliant on sound bites and unsubstantiated opinion and lacking any depth of argument that they are just like Indians, sending up smoke signals. If I permit myself a sound bite, as the saying goes, "one ought to be aware of smoke and mirrors". What is being "discussed" lacks just what Postman saw as missing in Public Discourse, any real depth of argument.

Now please don't accuse me of similar lack of depth of argument. I will readily admit there's much more to be argued, I just think it's been adequately said by Postman and lately by T. David Gordon.

In the meantime, just reflect on secular media and their impact. Video hits today predominantly visualise sexual themes and the music seems to not be the focus. Indeed sometimes the music is trash and the video is the only artistic part! What's happening is that instead of reflecting upon the words of the music and the message, often the message is visualised in a particular direction. What becomes the focus is the video, not the music. Indeed the music sometimes becomes secondary.

Now what we have among some in the Church is the notion that we shouldn't have to rely just on preaching, since that is so cognitive and word oriented but rather we should be able to include dance and drama and visual art to get the message across. I acknowledge this isn't just a problem found in emergent circles because it is clearly evident in those seeker services of the 90's and in some earlier church services. The point I want to highlight is how we need to think through the whole issue of how different media can detract, distort, or negate the message.

Apart from Scripture itself telling preachers to preach the Word, to declare the Scriptures and explain the sense of the teachings, eg Neh 8 they have also forgotten that other forms can easily distort and even negate the message. Not just that but the form can be inadequate to get the message across anyway, just like the Indians smoke signals. To argue that in the bible the prophets used drama, so therefore we can also use drama, or that Jesus told stories so we also can use the story form, is to confuse us and our calling to edify and equip the saints through the Word with the fact that they are used by God the father to declare exactly what He wanted communicated. We are not prophets in that sense. We are teachers of God's already delivered Word. We are to contend for the faith ( Scriptures ) once for all delivered. Jude 3. We don't make up or bring our own ideas to God's people.

Consider drama - if we think that it's a clear substitute for the preached Word of God we are mistaken. First of all the actors tend to interpret things not written. Certainly they need to thoroughly understand the Biblical or theological point of some story or parable or acted drama in the bible if they are to "act it out." Sadly we see how easy it is to get this wrong, just consider how many books used in teaching children through stories get the point of the passage so totally wrong. Yet even if they get it right, those listening can focus on the wrong thing, firstly because the context of the acted drama has not been given, and it needs to be seen in the biblical context in which it is given. In many cases those we get to do drama are not the pastor-teachers but usually actors in the body who are not often biblically astute about what they are doing. But secondly, our visual sense can take over and override our intellectual assessment, thinking through what is going on. We are so prone to being entertained in our culture that we switch off our mind in the presense of such stimulation.

I am not denying that people can interpret a preacher wrongly. And certainly there are many bad preachers out there - a subject for the next post. Yet it is the Word of God that is a two edged sword, which the Holy Spirit takes and convicts people with. Scripture does not say the Spirit takes drama and uses it that way. The Bereans are lauded because they checked out everything that the apostle Paul said against the Scriptures, the written word. Acts 17. It keeps on coming back to God's Word. Once for all delivered.

We need a bit of thoughtful reflection. Many pastors lament the Biblical illiteracy of many of their flock. But are we encouraging that because of the media we are using? We need to hear "Preach the Word, in season and out of season." We are not there to entertain, or "amuse" but to edify with the Word.

Have a read of Postman's book and reflect on what you are doing.

In Christ,