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Looking for Grace in All the Wrong Places

The Marginalization of Preaching

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Most American Christians today do not understand how listening to an hour of preaching can be an act of worship. This is because we tend to regard worship as something inherently emotional. Worship, we believe, is something that we feel. We like to be "lifted up to the Lord" in worship, which seems to require a heavy emphasis on songs. "Good worship" is worship that moves us, touches our heart, and causes us to sway a little. Because we equate praise and worship with emotions, we tend to think of our standard Lord's Day morning worship services as containing two distinct parts: the "praise and worship" part (which consists primarily of singing and perhaps public testimonies), and the teaching or lesson part (which consists of the pastor's morning sermon). We see the sermon as a wholly intellectual and didactic event (read: it doesn't move us emotionally), so we think that the worship stops when the preaching begins. I get blank looks from otherwise energetic Christians when I speak of "worshiping while one listens to the Word being proclaimed" or "preaching as an act of worship for preacher and listener" or "meeting God in the preached Word."


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Issue: "That Word Above All Earthly Powers: PREACHING" Nov./Dec. 2000 Vol. 9 No. 6 Page number(s): 35-38

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