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“No one knows the Bible today, so talking about the Bible is boring to people.”

“The Bible is not relevant to my daily life. Who cares what happened to Hosea?”

“Our world has changed, so we need sermons that relate to our changed world?”

“You have to preach about what people want to hear if you want to help them with what they need to know.”

“Why do you spend all that time in the exegesis of the text? All that work studying the Bible won’t help you understand the needs of people.”



SHOCKING STAT: Less than 10% of evangelical sermons mentioned the words sin, salvation, heaven, or hell!

The statistic comes from a database of almost 50,000 sermons compiled by the Pew Research Center, which were delivered between April 7 and June 1, 2019.[i] Much evangelical preaching today identifies human needs and proclaims Christ as a need-fulfiller. It is a man-centered gospel. Bill Hull nicknamed it “gospel Americana.”[ii] The message is simple. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” The result of such a reductionist message is that many people become converts who want no part of the demands of being a disciple.[iii]




A Beeline from the CrossC.H. Spurgeon supposedly said that he took his text and made a “beeline to the cross.” The purpose of every sermon, then, should be to preach the cross. There is no evidence that Spurgeon ever said these words, but they represent a common viewpoint used to justify a singular purpose for all preaching.[i] Every sermon has one purpose, in this view, and that purpose is to lead people to Christ on the cross. Every individual Scripture text intends to point us in some way to redemption in Christ.[ii]

Is this what Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4? No, not at all. Heralding the word (2 Tim. 4:2) means equipping the saints for “every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). The training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16) starts with the cross but does not end at the cross. Sermons become predictable when every sermon must end at the cross.[iii]




The Lost Language of Christianity

A recent Gallup poll is sending shockwaves through the evangelical world. For the first time in Gallup’s polling history, church membership fell below 50% in 2020. It was 70% in 2000, but twenty years later it is now 47%.[1] The numbers are worse if you look at them generationally. Only 8% of white millennials identify as evangelical compared to 26% of seniors.[2] Our world is increasingly secular, and young people are increasingly turning away from the church.

Russell Moore points out an astonishing reality. People are turning away from the church not merely because they reject the doctrines of the church but because they think the church rejects the doctrines of the church. It is sad when people turn away from the church because they do not believe in the authority of the Bible. It is tragic when people turn away from the church because they do not believe that we believe in the authority of the Bible. Our preaching has become secular in our quest to attract the world to the church. Moore writes:



Moralism or Moral Preaching

Al Mohler labeled much evangelical preaching today as “moralistic fables” because the sermons used biblical stories as examples to teach moral truths. Christ and the cross should be the focus of every sermon because they are the focus of every biblical text.[1] G.K. Beale, in a recent article, stressed that every verse in Scripture points to Christ and must be used to preach Christ, not moralism. He asked how our preaching is different from rabbinic teaching if we fail to focus on Christ and redemption.[2]

Christocentric preachers argue that when we use examples from the lives of biblical characters to teach moral and ethical values, we are guilty of moralism – using the Bible to emphasize our efforts to please God instead of preaching what God has done for us. Exemplification, using Bible stories and characters to teach moral values, is wrong to the redemptive-historical preachers.