7 reasons why Preaching is Dead

This post is part 1 of 2. Click here to see part 2.

1. Communication theory
– preaching is a dated form of communication in postgoogle setting people want the right to reply
– preaching leads to a poor retention of information
– even the best monologue practitioners are performers seeking to entertain- eg Stand up Comedy and their aim is to provoke shock; laughter and to sell a lot of products which are (hopefully) very different motivations than for preachers. So if we take hope from this format as revitalising oratory we may be clutching at straws.

So preaching as it is practiced in a lot of our churches is a dead form of communication that doesn’t fit our contemporary western cultures.

2. Education theory
– inefficient form of education / transformation
– doesn’t play to the different learning styles in the room
– poor results in transformation of character
– with greater levels of education in our churches – (because of the middle class audience of many of our churches many have been educated to tertiary level and beyond ) the level of challenge and engagement in our preaching has failed to take this into consideration

So preaching hasn’t engaged with changes in the educational environment and so is a dead form of education.

Now to be fair a lot of these could be resolved by understanding preaching in the wider context of the church’s ministry. But preaching has a particularly elevated place in the church’s life (see next point).

3. Ecclesiology
– We have so elevated the place of preaching that some churches view preaching as the central point of gathering e.g. church involvement is often measured by attendance at a ‘preaching service’ we often view this as the litmus test of inclusion in the church. This can encourage passivity in church attenders where “sitting and listening” are seen as the pinnacle of my Christian practice.

– Some churches argue that preaching is the most important part of the church leader’s role dedicating a lot of time and energy to this task indeed it is the sole selection criteria for choosing a new leader sometimes “preaching with a view” is a central part of the selection process. Encourages church leaders to hide away in the study and not engage with congregation or community. I came across a church leader who literally does not leave his house in the week so he might prepare the sermons and administrate.

– We advertise church attendance based around what people will hear – we publish teaching programmes or advertise speakers which encouraged consumer approach to church between Christians. We measure our church experience through the quality of the preaching – “I am not getting fed here”; “I am not growing in my understanding”; “I haven’t learned anything new.”

So preaching is dead because we have placed too heavy a burden on it and it has collapsed under the expectation overload.

4. Discipleship
Our preaching is not turning out disciples of Christ the benchmarking of quantitative life difference that the church is making to people seems minimal. To pick one example: Divorce rates in churches not massively different to wider culture. Christians not seen to be making very different consumer life choices. Some argue that we need more preaching or better preaching but is there any evidence that in the churches / constituencies that are arguing better preaching is the solution that significant character change is taking place.

5. Experiential
– The average christian has heard hundreds of sermons and can remember very little of their content. Even if we allow the argument that says; just like our regular diet of food; we have regularly eaten meals over the course of our lives but most of us would struggle to be able to remember the exact contents of the meals – they have still done us good. So preaching has fed us continually over the years and remembering their content doesn’t mean they haven’t done us good.Even if this train of thought is acknowledged; most preaching is aiming at a one off transformative experience rather than a steady diet of worldview; maturity development. The same argument could be offered for classroom teaching of children – but there does seem to be a higher amount of long range planning and developmental targets in play in education than in most preaching programmes.

So preaching has died in our memories as most of it has been unmemorable and bland

6. Content
– how much of our preaching really is Bible based? Looking back at my early sermons there was a lot of:
a) nagging – taking a text and telling people they should do more
b) hobbyhorses – twisting a text to say what it didn’t but what i wanted it to say
c) personal experience driven – shaped by my personal experience rather than hearing the text clearly
d) speaking into areas I knew nothing about – making off hand comments about things the text didn’t actually say and I didn’t really know about
e) trying to impose an inherited rather than thought out theological grid onto the text

Now hopefully I am improving in these areas; but I still hear a lot of preaching that fits this description.

So preaching has died because we drowned out God’s voice with our own.

7. Biblical
The mode of preaching we have developed is very different to the examples we see in the New Testament.

Monologues – Jesus is often interacting with the audience; responding to a question or engaging in dialogue.
Memorised / Manuscripts – the idea of a scripted sermon is hard to find – there seem to be a lot of ad hoc; extemporaneous preaching going on – Acts 2; Acts 17
Modelled on the epistles – a lot of our preaching look and feel like the letters of Paul rather than preaching of Jesus. Three points that alliterate feels closer to the letter writing of Paul than the parables of Jesus for example.
Muting the Spirit – I have come across preachers who video their sermons and replay them in venues they can’t actually go and preach at. So there is little room for the spontaneous infusion of wisdom, knowledge and insight that could come by being live in the room with the preacher.

So preaching has died because we put it into a coffin of professionalised preprepared pronouncements on the epistles.

DISCLAIMER: This has been prepared for a debate I am participating in where I have been asked to argue that “Preaching is Dead.” I am seeking to build the strongest case I can. As in all good debates my personal views are not in play. The overall aim of the debate is to help us reform; reframe; reimagine and rediscover preaching not to rubbish it. I am a committed preacher but we need to face the hard questions sometimes. Feel free to comment by challenging my points or adding your own.


35 thoughts on “7 reasons why Preaching is Dead

  1. Chris Kilby says:

    Greg Haslam put together a collection of contributions from a conference called ‘Preach The Word’ held at Westminster Chapel a few years ago. Some excellent contributors and great content in the book of the same name Krish.

  2. AndrewF says:

    In the spirit of the ‘Debate’ form, a pushback or reply I could see would be that you’ve perhaps overlooked the role of the Spirit and the proclamatory nature of the gospel message..

    1. krishkandiah says:

      good stuff – Andrew thanks for adding that perspective

  3. Rich Burley says:

    Very challenging. 5 & 7 are most compelling, especially the bits about the “one off transformative experience” which I sometimes feel pressured to focus more on than I want to, and the dissimilarities between modern preaching and preaching in the Bible.

    You could make more of point 4 – We’ve recently been challenged by LICC’s focus on becoming “Whole life disciple making” churches – by focusing more on that preaching is taking a bit of a back seat at the moment.

  4. Rachel Hill says:

    Hi Krish. An interesting debate! I would argue that lecturing is a form of monologue that does not seek to entertain (as in your first point) and yet is still widely used, specifically for teaching reasons, so pretty similar to preaching really. I am also not convinced by the food analogy. Just because I cannot remember in detail how I learned to make a pair of curtains or cook I meal for my family, this doesn’t mean I didn’t learn from whoever taught me. for what it’s worth I think what doesn’t help is when things get stale. If I attend church week after week and am only ever ‘talked at’ then I agree it’s probably not going to be hugely helpful over time. However sometimes I do want to just sit and soak up what is said, and discussions and interaction such as we have at Cornerstone can at times (not all the time !) get in the way of that and interupt my train of thought somehow. Not sure I have explained myself clearly but hope it helps a bit and that the debate goes well.
    PS. I have a feeling that more recently the theory on preferred learning styles has been proved to be incorrect.

    1. krishkandiah says:

      thanks for commenting Rachel – lecturing is an interesting mode of learning too – Oxford and Cambridge have put more attention into Tutorials than lecturing for a long time now. It is interesting that you chose cooking and sewing as things that you have learned but cant remember how – they are practical skills that you were probably not lectured to understand – rather skills someone got alongside you to teach?
      Loving the debate thanks for your comments
      see you soon

      1. To 2 I would argue that your point only replaces an old theory with a newly fashionable one. If people learn differently, why eliminate aural reception to make *all* learning kinesthetic? That just replaces one problem with another.
        We need a *range* of communication/teaching methods – but one of those is very certainly preaching. The issue is quality, not form. A good communicator/teacher can hold the attention, create dialogic communication form within preaching, and make a point memorable. For some, aural reception is more effective than kinesthetic. Etc etc.

        1. krishkandiah says:

          Thanks Maggi – that helps me – I do agree with you. For the purposes of debate I may have caricatured my opposition – much better to engage with the best of the other positions.

          1. Maggi says:

            Yes I see that! But if I was opposite you on debate that’s where I would start. Can you argue that preaching is dead with an incomplete education theory? And can you reply to the argument that sermon is not necessarily monologic in style. (Even when one voice voices it. But especially when preaching is developed in performance.)

  5. Alan Wilson says:

    Provocative indeed, Krish! A few quick thoughts (some of this has already been mentioned in the feedback)
    1 – Communication theory: ironic argument at this time of year as Dave MilliClegg addresses the parties!
    2 – Already mentioned that there is a spiritual element. The Old Proc Trust conviction that when the Word of God is preached, the voice of God is heard.
    3 – Specifically, the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit.
    4 – The inherent power of God’s life-giving word.
    5 – Scripture gives a specific mandate for preaching; early leaders devoted themselves to word and prayer, requiring others to pick up care ministry.
    6 – I believe MLJ preached for the transformative moment, but his sermons have lasted and thus have the potential to effect wider mindset change. One need not exclude the other.
    7 – The existence of poor preaching is not an argument against preaching any more than the existence of poor PL refereeing is an argument against having referees.
    8 – Lack of life transformation need not necessarily indict all preaching: what if some of the problem is that too many modern preachers have lost their nerve and have dumbed down, preaching ‘deistic moralism’?
    9 – What if preaching is set within a wider ‘ministry of the word’ that includes small group ministry and personal ministry?

    1. krishkandiah says:

      Thanks for commenting Alan – all good and useful points.
      Good point about party conferences – I went to see Miliband give an hour long “preach” without notes – its interesting to work out what is going on with the party conference speech. It reminded me of the hollywoodisation of the political process – Miliband was always searching for a soundbite he could get tweeted or captured on the 10 o’clock news. love to write more on that to hear the debate around what the communicative goals are.

      When the word is preached God’s voice is heard – is an interesting one too – does the same apply to “when God’s word is read in personal bible study” or “when God’s word is studied in community together” or is there something different about preaching – if so what is it?

      Again with 3. does the Spirit only illuminate a congregation through a preacher – kind of sounds priestly and Roman Catholic to me…

      Again with 4. we are not saying the bible is dead – but preaching in its current form

      [- it’s hard to continue on arguing in character on this as I am a preacher but…]

      Enjoying the debate thanks for being part of the conversation

  6. Alan Wilson says:

    Re the role of the Spirit and the power of God’s word – no, not confined to preaching, but I guess the Spirit’s presence in the preaching event sets it aside from other forms of communication. If he falls on the listeners, the results may confound the communication scientists!

    Also – somewhere in the mix, I think preaching is a multiple sided event: perhaps some preaching is ineffective because the congregation is apathetic or resistant (not that preachers should be quick to blame-shift!!)

    (That’s enough from me – thanks for making us think!)

  7. krishkandiah says:

    Thanks for coming back Alan. The receptivity of the audience is an interesting perspective – Jesus definitely seems to be intimating that in the parable of the sower…

    Agree the Spirit may well intervene to over ride communication deficiencies – that really is good news for all of us preachers !

    But what is distinctive about the Spirit’s presence in preaching as opposed to a Dad reading the Bible with his daughter or a Home group leaders directing her group through a passage of John’s gospel?

    1. SM says:

      Perhaps what is distinctive or shall I say, what was destinctive, is a unifying theme. In general terms the preaching or rather teaching we read in the NT is focused on a central unifying theme brought about by a central communal issue, concern, problem and or need. The need for Christ being the primary example. Tyranny might be a good example as well but most certainly suffering and persecution. In the OT we see the central theme being the mighty, awesome and Holy God as the central part of all teaching and preaching. This in a broad brush way is to say that all behavioral and social concerns were to be discussed and addressed with the resulting outcome for the people/person (there is no sociological difference here) was and is to have oneself focussed on God and God alone.

      Today, we are all but focussed on God and God alone and we try to dictate or determine well in advance what our “communal need” is without generating, igniting or divining any sort of communal properties whatsoever – unless individual families are entire communities unto their own. We have ourselves in a position of pandering, flattering, comforting, teeeeachhing (tough to say) and preaching for a non-unified mass of individuals fearful they might leave and not come back. To come back seems the theme as you suggested but to come back for what? Why?

      I don’t see the fear whether explicit or implicit in the stories of those in the Bible who preached and taught that I see today and so I would emphasize fear as a reason and would also add we are far afield of the singular unifying theme and perhaps God might allow preaching to die as a result.

      Than you for the discussion.

  8. Helen says:

    That will make a good debate indeed but I would echo the voices that say don’t underestimate the Holy Spirit’s role in preaching. You can ‘entertain’ as much as you want but unless He blesses the word it will return void.
    One more point; You’re right , we may not be able to remember many sermons but one of them was the one through which I was saved! May there be many more to do so!

  9. Michael Roca-Terry says:

    Krish, this is a challenging and thought provoking article. One question that springs to mind is, does the Bible make a clear distinction between preaching and teaching? If so what is it?

    Another thought I had when reading your post is, if such a distinction exists, has the church muddled its contexts with regards to the function of preaching as opposed to teaching?

    For example, is new testament preaching directed primarily at the lost, and thus evangelistic in nature? Or is it aimed at believers, and therefore designed for edification? Of course, we could say that it’s a both/and scenario, rather than a either/or.

    Your question later on about the work of the Holy Spirit here is a tough one:

    Q. But what is distinctive about the Spirit’s presence in preaching as opposed to a Dad reading the Bible with his daughter or a Home group leaders directing her group through a passage of John’s gospel?

    My initial thoughts are around the subject of ecclesiology, as well as pneumatology:

    My questions would be:

    1. Is there a compelling Biblical model for how the church should be governed, and does this have an impact on the level of spiritual authority God places on an elder as opposed to a deacon, for example?

    2. Has the church missed entirely how God intends the church to be governed, in light of Ephesians 4:11-16? If so, could this be a major factor in the effectiveness of many modern preaching models?

    3. Does the baptism of the Holy Spirit have a major role to play when it comes the level of authority and/or effectiveness granted to a preacher or teacher?

    4. If we deny or doubt this doctrine or pattern of the Spirit’s work in the new testament, is there a direct link between such a denial and our effectiveness as preachers/teachers?

    5. Working within a charismatic paradigm for a moment, is there a different anointing given to a preacher for their purpose and role within the gathered assembly, as opposed to a small group/family setting?


  10. Karl Udy says:

    Lots of good stuff here Krish. If I was opposing you in the debate I would pushback quite a lot on point 7 (Biblical). I think a good case can be made for Jesus using monologues extensively, whether in the formal synagogue setting of Luke 4, or the Sermon on the Mount, or other sermons in Matthew 11, 23, 24, 25. And the evidence in Acts tends even more to monologues. Moreover, there is strong evidence that the sermons reported in Acts are representative of a message that Paul would repeat wherever he went, which would indicate a more scripted sermon, even if he wasn’t actually reading from notes. Richard Bauckham’s work in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses also suggests that the gospel stories are written down from well-rehearsed oral retellings. A major form of teaching in the early church would have been simply reading of Scripture, whether OT, Gospel or Epistle, and while, especially early on, this may have been most commonly without commentary, the huge number of lectionaries and also several accounts in the NT suggests that public reading of Scripture accompanied with commentary was a common form of teaching/preaching.

    Although many sermons today are presented in the propositional form that follows the patterns of the epistles more that that of Jesus, it is not universally so, and there is no reason why parable could not be a part of modern preaching (and I’m sure we’re all familiar with some popular modern parables, such as the Lifesaving club that no longer does Lifesaving).

    And although I am not a big fan of multi-site video-links for sermons, I see no logical difference between the Spirit’s use of such communication and the writing down and printing/distribution of sermons or dare I say it, Scripture, which has been common practice since the earliest days of the church.

    1. krishkandiah says:

      thanks Karl – interesting do you think John’s gospel puts a different spin on things – where the emphasis on monologue vs dialogue communication?

      Book of Acts seems to encourage spontaneous preaching and dialogue too – responding to accusation of being drunk Acts 2 – asking people not to sacrifice to them in Acts 11 debating in the Areopagus Acts 17, responding to prophecy Acts 20…

      if there is no logical difference between preaching and print distribution of sermons or scripture – would like to lovingly question your doctrine of scripture – surely scripture alone is God breathed and no preacher (live or on video) would claim the same authority…

      1. Karl Udy says:

        Re John vs synoptics … I’m not sure about that, but we do know that each of the gospels presents a carefully edited and arranged portfolio of Jesus’ sayings. Matthew and John seem to have the longer speeches, and much of what Jesus says is in dialogue or response to a question or situation. My point was simply that the evidence is not so clear that Jesus didn’t do long monologues, and in fact seems to be that he at least sometimes did.

        Re Acts … again, yes, there is plenty of extemporaneous preaching, but there is also evidence of rehearsed preaching, eg Paul’s sermon in Acts 13 is widely acknowledged as a representative of Paul’s preaching throughout his missionary journey. I’m not sure that there is a strong case to be made for one being more prevalent than the other.

        Re doctrine of Scripture … my point was more that mass distribution, whether by video, printing press, or hand-copying is logically the same sort of thing. I may have not been clear in my comments regarding Scripture, but my intended thoughts were that the Scriptures were copied and distributed widely, can (and in the early church often did) function as preaching, and it is difficult to make a case that the Spirit is less able to work through one medium of communication (video) than another (text).

        It might help to know the moot of your debate. If it is “preaching is dead”, then to oppose I would present that preaching is one valid form of ministering the word among others – and consequently your arguments will need to be more airtight. But I can imagine other possible ways the moot could be formed which would require a stronger defense of preaching as the primary form, and allow you to simply cast doubt on the primacy of preaching.

  11. Matt Currey says:

    This is a really fascinating and very rich conversation. Which I think in some way makes a point in itself that Dialogue, talking, listening and engaging are all key things when it comes to learning and that leading to practice and community.

    I really like and resonate with the points Krish jhas made but like Maggi also think that there is space for the ‘talk’ in the range of styles. It’s both/and rather than either/or

    For example, How many of us who resonate with the blog also still like/engage with/watch TED Talks or Documentaries? TED Talks and Documentaries for me show that it’s very possible to communicate in this way, but alongside great talking comes a range of things which are key, especially story, honesty, humour, vulnerability and visuals.

    Perhaps as has been said, a certain style of Sermon may be dead/dying but that can make way for something better and something reimagined

  12. Kris
    Thank you first of all for raising this debate. I love the fact that people are thinking about it. It has been something that has been challenging my thinking for some time. Perhaps though it is not the ‘preaching’ that is dead but our style of ‘preaching’.
    I myself am a preacher, and so this is a challenging thought process for me too, but more and more I am asking the question is monologue preaching the best way of creating disciples?

    Christ calls us to make disciples, I look around many, (most certainly not all) western churches and ask where are they? We seem to be very good at making church goers, where, if we can put together a good and entertaining preach we will hold on to our people and they will come back next week for more of the same, until they get bored and move on to find the next one. But are we making disciples? Is the church in the west growing?

    We have many people now who say ‘ I don’t need to go to a local gathering, called the church, because I can get all I need online’. This is because it has become all about ‘me’ and feed ‘me’ rather then the one who feeds.

    Schools, universities, pre-schools are changing their method of teaching more and more to learning based around practice and debate. Now if we look at the method Jesus adopted with His disciples, this would appear to be nearer to the method He used. However He also ‘preached’, the sermon on the mount being the most noted.

    I also look at the church around the world, and ask how are they producing disciples, and again I note that the fastest growing church anywhere in the world today is the underground church in China which has to adopt many different ways of dicsipleship because of where they are and the persectution they receive.

    I believe we cannot throw out preaching the word, but have to change the way we preach. More and more I am challenged to debate and discussion, and most importantly ‘practical out working of our learning’. If we would only learn to apply what we learn and live in the power of the Holy Spirit, and realise that this is not all about ‘me’ it is about the one who reached out His hand and pulled me out of the gutter, then this western world would be transformed for Christ once again.

    In all of this there is one missing element that I have not yet mentioned, the Holy Spirit, we must be Christ Centred, Holy Spirit Filled followers of Christ, and have fallen so much in Love with Him because He first loved us that nothing else matters. (Get out of preaching mode!! LOL)

    Let us learn to walk together, and learn together in that walk. I commend you for bringing this debate as it is something we must be discussing!!

  13. Steve says:

    Interesting debate! I wonder whether your 7 points are actually 3 points?

    1 & 2 – preaching is dying because the preachers aren’t bringing their sermons into the 21st Century and engaging with the congregation in their cultural setting (for what it’s worth I think that whilst the motivations might be different, many preachers could benefit from adopting the techniques those best practitioners you mention!)

    5, 6 & 7 – preaching is dying (and hasn’t been brought into 21st Century) because we’ve trained a generation of preachers to use scripted 3-point alliterations rather than listen to the Spirit and preach God’s Word today.

    3 & 4 – preaching is dying because it’s place has been over-emphasised, leading to other areas of church life and ministry being neglected. This in turn leads to the body from which preaching thrives withering and sapping the strength of the preacher. Preaching is not discipleship, it is the proclamation of truth. Neglecting discipleship leads to a recursive under-application of the proclaimed truth to every day life.

    1. krishkandiah says:

      nice summary- well done – now we have got three points if only we could get them to alliterate 🙂
      this will help me to be more concise in my debating – thank you

  14. Judith Marlow says:

    I think that preaching as we knew it is pretty much obsolete. We don’t have sermons in our church, but everyone goes away having done observation, interpretation and application of a passage of scripture. And that doesn’t depend on them being able to concentrate for 5-40 minutes, or having a wide vocabulary including some specialised vocabulary. Takes a lot of prep though. As a teacher of children who haven’t been successful in mainstream school, and a psychotherapist, I don’t think God wants to limit the gospel to those who can concentrate, read and sit still – why would we?

  15. Chris Wooff says:

    When we were down in London in 2012 we took the tour of the Globe theatre. One of the things that struck us is how poor the view of the stage must be in many areas. We remarked on this to the guide who pointed out that in Shakespeare’s time people tended to listen to plays much more closely and weren’t fussed about having a good view of the stage. Given that we now appear to live in an age where people require much more visual stimulation then maybe sermons which don’t make effective use of pictures and video have had their day.

    1. SM says:

      Good point Chris. Very sad point as well.
      There is no depth to Shakespeare without the words.
      Likewise, the abundant depth of the awesome creator of all that is, only hinted at in the words he gave us, especially when mined as diamonds or gold, is completely devoid of depth if we only have pictures to look at. The Sistine Chapel and other works of Art of that age were pictures to an illiterate people of which the preacher (who was educated and literate) brought to vivid life when he explained their meaning to an uneducated (unschooled) audience of followers. The pictures (paintings) are remarkably vivid and tell the entire Biblical story from beginning to end but this must be explained to the first time viewer in today’s world.
      Words are critical to understanding and understanding most often must be taught. For you and I will each look at and see the same picture differently, only our words will clarify between us some meaning, only the painter knows the meaning. We will each have our reactions and feelings but the truth of what the meaning is must be taught in some way other than by the picture alone.

  16. Bos says:

    Hi Krish. You preached at my Induction in a Church in NW London. I enjoyed that – as many others did too. I hope you will not neglect the gift you have – even if it is not the primary gift.

    Just because bad preaching is bad, it doesn’t mean preaching is dead. Just because, in some fellowships, there is too much preaching and not enough engagement in worship, discussion and Christian action, it doesn’t mean that preaching is dead.

    This discussion is really quite depressing. Generalisations about “communication theory” and “educational theory” are really unhelpful – these can be presented to argue any case you like. It’s not as if they were anything more than working hypotheses. It’s a bit like Dorkins saying that “The Science has proved…”

    You say: “preaching has died in our memories as most of it has been unmemorable and bland”. I suppose bland, pointless sermonising is forgettable. But not all preaching is like that.

    The main thing I don’t like about your paper is that you seem to generalise from examples of bad preaching to assume that preaching is dead. Maybe it’s the preachers who are dead. Possibly spiritually dried up. Toasted on the barbecue of consumerism.

    Paul wrote about “the foolishness of preaching”; I suppose there has been resistance to it for centuries.

    It’s not so much that preaching has become outdated, it has suffered from a peculiar sort of modernisation. The contemporary dominance of “key speakers” and parachurch professionals along with the big jamboree events has not built up dedicated followers of Christ because it has pandered to consumerism and performance. Even the popularity of certain worship songs can be related to the hype afforded them by “Big Events”.

    I was involved in arranging an inter-church service to which we had invited a “Big Name Key Speaker”. We wanted to use an interview approach to engage with aspects of the theme. His PA sent us a set of questions we could ask him. He arrived late, failed to engage with the interview and spoke for an unbearably long time. That wasn’t preaching – that was self-aggrandisment. Doesn’t mean that preaching is dead. Just that he killed an otherwise good time of fellowship between local churches.

    Where I agree with some of the contributors is in the notion that Preaching should be seen as a component of a whole range of engagements made within the ordinary life of a church fellowship.

    To try to pit the Epistles against The Sayings of Jesus in the Gospels doesn’t help because of the redacted nature of the Scriptures. However, the fact that Paul’s letters contain so much corrective comment reflects the idea that Paul’s preaching didn’t create complete dedicated followers of Christ. It seemed to set people on a journey towards Christ-following. Paul expected that if they kept in step with the Spirit, the fruits of Christ;likeness would be produced by the Spirit of God.

    1. krishkandiah says:

      Thanks for your comments Bos – as I say at the bottom of the blog post this is prep for a debate I am in this week. So no plans to give up on preaching. Blessings Krish

  17. Brad Wilson says:

    Interesting stuff.
    I agree that the majority of problems relating to descipleship aren’t related to the proposed obselescence of preaching, but rather, the general absence of the use of other gifts in the church in small group contexts.
    I’ll throw in ‘group size dynamics’ . I think it’s a big factor in the proper use of the gift.
    As for what it’s for, I tend to agree with a comment above which stated it’s end is in the promotion of unity.

  18. Neil Powell says:

    I wonder if I might be missing something here.

    1) Jesus preached, often to thousands at a time (don’t think he did a QandA with 5000 people or when he was preaching in a boat off the shore).

    2) The apostles preached c.f. 1 Cor. 1:17. A strong case can be made for saying that the structure of the book of Acts is built around 7 sermons preached by Peter and Paul to Jewish and Gentile audiences.

    3) Paul commanded that church leaders should preach. He commanded Timothy to preach in 1 Timothy 4:13-14, 2 Timothy 4:2.

    Now if the debate is about styles of preaching, length of preaching, frequency of preaching, effective ways of preaching, then I’m up for that debate. If it’s about other methods of teaching alongside preaching then I’m all ears.

    But given that Jesus established the church through preaching, God grew the church through the apostles’ preaching and the apostles commanded leaders of the church to continue to preach I’m not sure what the point of a debate entitled ‘preaching is dead’ is meant to achieve. How about changing the title to ‘Given that we must preach, how can our preaching be better?’

  19. The word ‘preaching’ is a funny one. The word in Acts 20 (Troas) is not preach or teach but is ‘dialegomai’ meaning to ‘reason’ or to ‘dialogue’ even though many translations imply and state ‘Paul preached on and on’. In the pastorals the word is often in the ‘didache’ word group ‘teaching’ not ‘preaching’. I was ‘teaching’ in Africa recently , six sessions of I hour each , each day. My hosts said JT is teaching here not preaching so ask questions, make comments. Each session had an element of Q and A as well as an element of ‘dialegomai’. The uninterrupted 45 minute sermon isn’t even biblical and never was. The answer for the future is to teach and dialogue, occasionally ‘preach’ but probably only for pat of the time allocated.

    1. SM says:

      Thank you, JT!

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