Minor Thoughts from me to you

Archives for Scott Sager (page 1 / 1)

Preaching the Gospel or Teaching the Bible

Alternate Title: Sheep Feeding or Adding to the Flock

Hi Joe,

I think your point is well taken, although I see it less as a theological issue at this time and based on the information and more an issue of preference. How do you like that for hedging:) But I'm of mixed minds about the issue, and appreciate the question, as well as the opportunity to respond.

Based on some of our prior conversations, I think it would be fair to say that there is a sentiment that Blackhawk does not consistently present the Gospel in its Sunday sermons that would allow a person with no, limited, or incorrect of Scripture to identify a) who Christ is, b) why it's important to know Christ in general and in the context of the message, and c) what you should do with the knowledge of Christ.


I certainly think that it is typically for a sermon message to contain the elements in the above paragraph. It was at the church I grew up in and it is at the church my parents attend. Anyone who walks through the door will, assuming they've listened, heard something about the power of Christ before they've left. Evangelism is the primary goal of the Sunday sermon, or at least the last five minutes.


However, I don't think the absence of those elements make a sermon unsound. Sermons can and should be used to deepen the understanding of Scripture and relate it to our lives today, i.e. that it has meaning, that it does still translate in modernity, that our human condition has not changed. Fundamentally, Matt's sermon illustrates the continuing need for Christ in our lives, although this was not explicitly stated. I think Matt may make the assumption that many of those in attendance get the point.


I don't think the two subjects, finding and feeding, need to be mutually exclusive. A Sunday sermon can address both, but it may not be necessary that it does both, or one or the other, in the name of theological soundness. My concern is the imbalance.

If the message from the pulpit does not help people find Christ explicitly, then this duty should be held by someone and it should be exercised on Sunday during the sermon. Some pastors point out people in the back of the room that are waiting to talk and answer questions, while other churches have "Fireside Rooms" to invite newcomers or those with questions to hear about the Gospel more explicitly. Currently, I do not think that Blackhawk has excelled addressing this issue.

Alternatively, if the pulpit doesn't help people grow in Christ through the effective exposition of Scripture, then the flock can falter. While some would say that this is the purpose of Sunday school, and I would agree, there is a good and useful purpose to the pulpit being used to teach.


I think that there is an imbalance at Blackhawk. The Gospel is not presented in a traditional way in each sermon. There is no Sunday school. There is no immediately visible (to me) means by which a seeker can gather more information and hear the Gospel without taking some risks. In the effort to be welcoming, we may simply be offering a place for a club to meet (not unlike many other churches, whether they preach the Gospel or not). How then is it best done and should it always fall on the pulpit, or should it fall on those that are fed? If so, what direction, motivation, and organization does the flock need to feed others that attend on a Sunday?