The Problem With Preaching

Any time a person 'attacks' preaching, it's bound to cause a stir.  Next Wave publishes an article, The Problem with Preaching that begins:

Preaching is a big problem. After many years of preaching, listening to sermons, studying the scriptures, participating in 'church' leadership & studying the western church (in New Zealand), I'm becoming convinced that preaching often does more harm than good. Preaching, as it is practiced in modern churches, is extra-biblical, a poor form of communication, and creates dependency.

It goes on to layout a number of reasons why their are problems with preaching:

1. Preaching is Extra-Biblical

2. Preaching is an Ineffective Form of Communication

3. Preaching Limits Learning, Discussion & Debate

4. Preaching Doesn't Usually Change Lives

5. Preaching Can Foster Biblical Illiteracy

6. Preaching Disempowers People 

(and the list goes on…)

I'm sure this will divide right down the 'pomo-emergent' vs. 'evangelical' lines as to how people respond to the post.   There are so many ways we could slice this.  (I don't know if the assumption is preaching is the magic bullet to solve all problems, but there seems there is a lot of straw man arguments. Eg.  'Preaching doesn't change lives' of course, the Holy Spirit does and it uses His Word.)

Preaching as the function of church is under attack and will continue to be under great scrutiny.  A post at Church Marketing Sucks about Making the Most of Your Sermon illicted responses such as, "To me the sermon is a pretty small percentage of the ministry of the church." Yet, I would venture that this is the majority of where preaching pastors spend their time.

At Faithworks, Tom Allen writes an article entitled, Is Our Preaching Out of Touch where he states, "In an emerging church culture that values authenticity above all else, such an approach to preaching creates an artificial distance with the congregation."  He goes on to quote Paggit:

For Pagitt, (preaching) is unhealthy — even abusive — to suggest that only a few, privileged individuals can speak for God. "Why do I get to speak for 30 minutes and you don't?"“A sermon is often a violent act,” says Pagitt, a key figure among emerging leaders. “It’s a violence toward the will of the people who have to sit there and take it.” To treat the sermon as an oratorical performance delivered by a paid and trained professional who claims to speak for God sets up an artificial power imbalance within the congregation, Pagitt says.

The Problem With Preaching article ends with this suggestion:

I believe that a better & more scriptural alternative (to preaching) is personal and corporate Bible study, listening to God, discussion, and working together in mutually-accountable community to help each other apply biblical truths in our lives, community and world.