All we evangelicals need is better preaching . . .
The following is a comment I made at i-Monk’s great recent post, that I’ve already linked to (but it deserves a second link!), in response to a comment that the answer to evangelicals’ problems with preaching is better preaching . . .
Clearly our preaching can be improved (I still have reservations about using that word to refer to a practice that is almost entirely directed to those who are already believers, but that’s a subject for another day). But the point of this post is that evangelicals tend to over-rely on the practice, whether doing it well or badly. Our over-reliance is based on a selective reading of scripture, an overly-intellectualized view of the faith and of humanity, and, now, the inertia of tradition. We have made a primary practice out of our least relational and participatory interaction with one another and it produces its fruit. In fact, if I had to name the necessary ingredients of evangelical ecclesiology, they would be a person preaching and someone listening. A song or two may also be required. That’s what evangelicals need to have to call something “church.” Maybe you agree with that assessment, maybe you don’t, but it’s worth thinking about, and about how warped that is relationally compared to a body concept. And it’s worth thinking about how that working definition of church, when practiced over decades, will form and even mal-form people given its lack of relational accountability or even interaction and the “role” it tries to place on the vast majority of people, which is essentially a non-role. The answer to this problem, which is the problem raised here, is not “good, biblical, Word-centered, Gospel-focused, Spirit-empowered preaching that points people to Jesus Christ” as wonderful as that sounds and can be. We need a bigger, better picture of being human and of being the church than our current ecclesial practices and priorities reveal.