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Ears That Hear: How to Listen to a Sermon

True listening does not happen naturally; it is a learned habit. People need to learn to listen, and learn how to listen. This is an important truth to emphasize at a time when preaching is considered to be merely “a lecture” and listening is decried as “inactive” and “non-participatory.” Those who make such claims understand neither preaching nor listening.

Application Overload

I agree that preachers should call people to respond, but I do not think this always entails “putting it into action” – especially in a way that is immediately observable to others. Participation, indwelling, embodying, embracing – these are active words, but they are not necessarily activist terms.

Application Phobia

Shaddix’s concern that relevant and practical preaching not overshadow the importance of Christ-centered preaching has caused him to overstate his position to the point where it is nearly impossible for a preacher to help his or her congregation in the stuff that comprises the vast bulk of their lives.

Preaching in Word and Spirit

Preaching must be “more than words.” A gospel delivered in “word only” has no power to transform. Therefore, as important as words are to the preaching task, the preacher must never place his or her confidence in words alone.

Evangelizing the Faithful

A culturally-bound gospel has resulted in a culturally-captive church that is unable to see its own bondage because it has distinguished its expression and experience of the gospel as universal, absolute, and definitive. As such, it is blind to its cultural accommodations and thus, arrogant in regard to its perceived privileged position as an absolute, ultimate, and complete expression of the gospel.

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