A New Day for Preaching

Today is a federal holiday commemorating the life and influence of a Baptist preacher, Martin Luther King, Jr. This, above all things, testifies to the social significance of preaching. Tomorrow is the inauguration of the first African-American President of the United States, Barack Obama, a man who won the election in large measure by the power of his public rhetoric.

Both of the historic facts undergird the mission of The Academy of Preachers—to inspire and support young people in their call to gospel preaching. It is appropriate today that I write about his new venture into which I have been called.

Every week more people in these United States listen to a sermon than engage in any other public act: more than attend a ball game or watch a movie, more that gather for any kind of meeting or concert. Perhaps only shopping for groceries captures the attention of people more than listening to a sermon: in a sanctuary, on the television, or on the web.

Preaching is important; and it is important that we have better preachers.

But preaching as a vocation has fallen on hard times. Young people who desire to live a life of significance are enamored with other things—good things, indeed—vocations they think will make a difference in the world: public policy, medicine, government, research, higher education, media (especially film). Yes, all of these open a way into the heart of our culture, a way that can bring hope and justice and peace and righteousness and truth to the human race.

But the events this week remind us powerfully that preaching, and public speaking in general, are not to be dismissed as insignificant, as irrelevant, as old-fashion.

Consider this: week after week, preachers of all kinds declare the simple message that God is supreme over the state, that the values and deeds of nations will be judged by God, that if you and I must decide whether to obey God or the State, we best side with God. This is a powerful message in a world dominated by regimes that assert ultimate authority and power.

Preaching, then, exists as a powerful bulwark against the ride of Statism in the modern world. The same point could be made about materialism, or individualism, or hedonism: all are powerful forces in modern culture, against which preaching is a chief defense.

Therefore: the Academy of Preachers. See www.academyofpreachers.net.

1 comment so far

  1. Mike on

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