22 May, 2006

The Dignity of the Pulpit

In my seminary we often here the phrase "the dignity of the pulpit". We talk about how the pulpit needs to be a place that is seen as holy and reverent. The preaching of the Word is as Christ speaking to his bride.

My wife and I just heard a sermon by the dean of an evangelical seminary that actually ended his sermon with this- "and if you do not like it I have one word for you- www dot get over it dot com"! The crowd then burst into applause.



Andrew Duggan said...

That (www.getoverit.com) is appearently an
"... online art gallery with fine art originals and prints for sale to suit most budgets and interior decorating needs.

Was he being rhetorical or trying to drum up sales? I wonder if he got any adsense $$ for the reference? (Joking)

Maybe you could end each sermon you preach with something along the lines of ...

"Today's Presbyterian Thoughts were brought to you by the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Isaiah."

You might not get applause, but some of the little kids should like like it, and you might even get a chuckle out of their moms.

That would be OK wouldn't it, as long as they didn't start calling you Pastor Elmo?

Droll Flood said...

I'm concerned here about an arbitrary standard being enforced.

What would positively constitute/define "dignity of the pulpit"? Negatively?

-Some would blush at preaching from Song of Songs, others at some of the language of St. Paul.

--Some would be overwhelmed by any emotion in a sermon.

-Some would be taken back by a citing of a foreign creed. Or an alternate Scripture translation.

Are we allowed to negate what God has said if God's word makes men blush or embarassed or...?

Andrew Duggan said...

What would you think about product placement advertising during the sermon? Maybe the pastor could enjoy Diet Coke or Pepsi instead of merely having a glass of water? Maybe he could work in an illustration featuring a particular brand of dog food, or mention how the church could get a new building at half the cost and time of traditional construction?

However, you might need to adjust the message to attract the largest congregation to ensure the highest ad revenue. On a positive note, the church could do away with those uncomfortable minutes during with the tithes and offerings are collected.

How dignified would this be...

Up-tempo rock'n roll fades out as the the worship leader says... "This half-hour of worship is brought to you with limited commericial interruption by ....."

Ellie said...

Lets face it there are many undignified persons in need of salvation. This calls for approaches that are outside of our comfort or tolerance level.To us it may seem offensive, and coming from us God may take offense. I believe that getting the word out is vital.While this is not a style you guys would emulate some persons may need a "hard core" delivery to open their hearts to the working of the Almighty God!!!! Praise God!!!

Gavin said...

I would tend to see little problem with that; if Liberty is related to Libery University, then I probably would have had more of a grumble about the content of the sermon rather than the delivery. Frankly, I think that line is hokey and the preacher could have said something more like, "and if you don't agree, look it up in scripture." It isn't as snazzy, but it isn't like the other line was any good.

The problem with small jokes in the sermon is that they often hide incompetent preaching. Granted, I've mostly heard incompetent preaching, but the times that I've heard a good 20-45 minute (long for me) sermon, the length didn't bother me because it actually was worth listening to. That's not to say that giving a humorous anecdote or any other delivery device is inappropriate, just that they ought to be used carefully and not just as "filler". Scanning over the WCF, the only regulation of preaching given is that it be "sound" (XXI:V); somehow I don't see this as excluding any suitable delivery techniques. As Andrew describes, a rock concert-style "clap your hands" sermon would tend to preach things in the delivery alone which are unacceptable. I recall specifically being at a Lutheran college and hearing a Law/Gospel sermon which began with a hilarious story about the preacher as a young boy pulling on a fire alarm. The riches of the preached Word are purpose enough for the conservative use of such illustrations.