One of the Dirtiest Little Secrets About Preaching

The sad state of "biblical" preaching in the American Evangelical church

In many places it seems that “biblical” preaching simply means quoting a passage and then the airplane taxis down the runway, rotates, and lifts off and away we go into the homiletical ether.


One of the dirtiest little secrets about preaching is that many preachers are using what we used to call in radio “a service.” There are, or at least there used to be, businesses that sell jokes and one liners and gags and the like to “radio personalities.” We referred to these business as “a service” as in,

“Wow, his show is terrible.”

“Well, I’m not surprised, he uses a service.”

If a “personality” needs a service he isn’t really much of a personality is he?

Kim Riddlebarger is exposing the fraud for what it is: a homiletical crime.

Read Kim’s blog but not just before a meal or you’ll lose your appetite. The tragedy that is American evangelical preaching continues.

Imagine if lawyers used a service:

“Good morning your honor, hey it’s good to be with you this morning. Hey, your bailiff is looking sharp this morning. It’s 22 minutes past the big hour. Hey, did you hear about the precedent in Hooch vs. Turner? Well it seems that….”

Or a physician,

“Well Mrs Jones it seems that you have inoperable cancer but hey, that reminds me of the story about the two viruses…”

If such things are inappropriate in court or in the physician’s office, how are they appropriate for the pulpit?

I’m not calling for artificial solemnity in preaching. Authentic preaching entails reflecting on the whole range of human experience as appropriate to the text of Scripture before the minister. The minister’s job is, as R. B. Kuiper used to say, to preach “the text, the whole text, and nothing but the text.” R. B. also used to say, “Gentleman, in every sermon there are three points: the text, the text, the text.”

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