I read an interesting article on the IX Marks website. I like much of the article and found it useful. However:
The claim was made that the greatest danger in the church today is well meaning pastors who…
“…because, in spite of their confession, their words and actions treat Christianity as nothing more than the best form of therapy. They treat it as self-help. They treat it as the path to better marriages, better parent-child relationships, better attitudes and performance at work, and on and on.”
I agree with some of the issues the author has with such therapeutic Christianity. I also disagree, what of the people who just came to Jesus to be healed and set free, in my Bible he didn’t send them away but the power and presence of God shone into their lives regardless of their response.
Later on in the article is a section on questions you should ask of a preacher / pastor in an attempt to avoid such therapeutic sermons.
Based on what you have heard of his preaching, ask yourself…
Was the main point of the text he was preaching the main point of his sermon? (If he did not preach a text, remove his name from consideration.)
And there we meet the great idol of modern evangelicalism – preaching a text. In my reading of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John I rarely see Jesus doing that – only occasionally does he “preach” from the OT scriptures. He uses lots of parables and illustrations from daily life – I have no doubt he knew the OT very well, he simply wasn’t constrained by it.
Ask my students and they would tell you that I love the Bible, but I do not think I have to worship it to the extent of I can only deliver a God-glorifying sermon if it is based upon expositional preaching of a Bible text. At that point I get off the bus.