Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Some Listeners May Not Think They’re Sinners (part 6 of What Are Our Listeners Thinking?)

I started a DMin program this past year at Talbot Seminary, in the Ministry Skills Track.  It has three focuses, preaching, leadership, and discipleship.  As a result this past year has been spent immersing myself in preaching books and blogs.  I have come across a Randall Pelton's blog that I have found helpful.  Here is a good reminder on the necessity of explaining basic theological truths.

n this post I’m continuing my summary of the book, Belief Without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious, by Linda Mercadante. Of all the things I learned about the spiritual but not religious (SBNR), what surprised me the most was how prevalent is the notion that human beings are basically good.
Look at how prevalent the belief in human goodness is: “The one thing nearly everyone said—the one thing they most often started their comments with—is that human nature is inherently good” (p. 129). Here are some telling quotes:
“I think we’re born all good in terms of spirit” (p. 130)
“I think that the little child is born in goodness”
“I believe in essential goodness….Basically we’re very good.”
“We are good and doing wrong is out of character.”
“I think people are essentially good. Each one of us has a nugget of basic goodness.”
“I feel like every person is born pure and innocent, good all the way around.”
“We’re all divine….We’re all masters….We’re all perfect and all we have to do is remember that.” (p. 134)

This information is important to me, not because I have many SBNR’s in our faith-family, but because their mindset is in the air we breathe. These notions are at war with our Christian faith.
Did you think it was that blatant? I didn’t.
It reminded me how important it is to explain original sin and sin in general whenever preaching portions contain those concepts. I can’t assume everyone knows our predicament. No predicament, no need for the Gospel. Or, how about this? Decrease the belief in our sinfulness and we decrease the need for God’s grace for our growth.
Anyway, remember that belief in human goodness is in the air and that air leaks into the sanctuaries each Sunday.
Preach well for the sake of God’s reputation in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).

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