Hattie’s Hangout: Scripture Trumps Man’s Opinion, Never Going Out of Style
Witnessing the complete abandonment of Scripture from the pulpit/stage strikes my heart with sadness. Unfortunately, this happens more than I want to admit.
As a new generation of pastors begins to take leading roles at churches across the country, a shift to topical preaching has ushered in with them. Despite being used as a tool to further a congregation’s understanding of the biblical idea being preached, storytelling will never be able to eternally impact the hearts of people like the Word of God, living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
A pastor of a church should look to shepherd their flock, guiding them straight to Scripture every time the congregation meets and letting the text of the Scripture guide him on the structure of the sermon. When a pastor steps aside from Scripture for even just a moment and depends on their own opinion, they are leading a church from the lens of man and not the will of God.
What hides behind compelling stories and trendy clothes is an empty sermon that will fail to quench the appetite of the hungry souls sitting in the pews.
I may be speaking for myself, but when I walk into a church-like gathering expecting to be fed truth from God’s Word but leave only knowing the pastor’s thoughts and journal entries, disappointment immediately sets in. The shift to topical preaching may not seem dangerous, but the moment the ideas of man are elevated as the basis for the sermon above the Holy Bible, the room for misinterpretation and corruption expands immensely.
In Matthew 4 we see Jesus Christ, the son of God, responding to Satan with scriptural truth to combat the lies and temptation the enemy was throwing at him.
Truth combats lies. Biblical truth spoken at the pulpit should be the expectation, not just a preferred preaching style.
In “9 Marks of a Healthy Church,” author Mark Dever says, “The first mark of a healthy church is expository preaching. It is not only the first mark; it is far and away the most important of them all, because if you get this one right, all of the other should follow.”
The drive to be a relatable pastor has overcome the need and desire to be a scriptural teacher. What wisdom does one have to offer if it is not based on the supreme wisdom of God?
A true leader of a church should seek to let the Word of Christ dwell richly in their congregation, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in their hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).
The Word of God that is the lamp to my feet and light to my path (Psalm 119:105) must shine at the base of the pulpit and never be an afterthought to a story driven by emotions and catchy one-liners.
Our standards for scriptural preaching must be set on the truth of the Bible and nothing else. We cannot accept the neglect of scriptural backing and just call it a contemporary form of preaching because the last time I checked, God’s sovereign words are useful in season and out of season, never going out of style.
Hattie Troutman is the Editor-in-Chief. Follow her on Twitter at @hattrout.