Starting with Love

Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe I am just a hack when it comes to preaching. And I probably am. After preaching for over 20 years, I’ve been out of the pulpit since 2016. My preaching gears are getting rusty. In part, that’s why I write this blog, just to have an outlet for those energies. I don’t have an axe to grind. It’s just that that street preacher really bugged me. It bugged me because he represented for most what Christianity is about, fire and judgment and the wrath of God. While true, it is a narrow interpretation of God’s nature. God is much more than this.

If he had delivered that message in a church, he would probably received a more sympathetic hearing, but as a trial sermon, I think it would have been a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” situation. I can’t fault the guy for trying, because it was more than I was doing sitting there minding my own business. But could I have done better, with that mildly hostile crowd? The guy was preaching the word of God, and reading directly from the text. But he might have started with this John 3:16 instead of Romans 1:19ff.

He could have started with John 3:1. He could have started in the gospels. He could have started in the Psalms. He could have started with love and then balanced with God’s wrath for sin, and that expended upon Christ at the cross. As Paul in 1 Cor 3, he could have come preaching “Christ and Him crucified.” He could have went a number of different places. But what do I know? I’m just a guy writing a blog.

It seems to me that guys that begin and end preaching against the sins of the world have come out of some pretty dark places themselves. This is preaching out of personal pain and shame. If someone has not felt the love of Christ, it’s very hard to preach about it. And I think that’s where these guys come from. They are spoon-fed the wrath of God and fear of God’s judgment if they live less than perfectly. And that’s where they start in their preaching. It is a sad reality that many are exposed to Christianity in its most negative light. It’s not fair to God to describe Him so one-sidedly.

God bless you today.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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