Saturday, June 10, 2017

Not Too Loud, Please (Or Too Emotional, or Manipulative, or Hip Either)

When the volume is turned up too loud, the message is in danger of being
misunderstood, ignored, even rejected. This is the case every bit as much as if the volume was turned down too low. In fact, the frustration created in the listener because of ineffective volume control can easily be linked to whatever he actually may pick up from the message. This is why you should avoid placing concertgoers right next to the speaker, or raising your voice in an argument with your spouse, or shouting out during your sermon in an attempt to convey importance or to spark emotional response. I fear that unnecessarily loud or flamboyant preachers betray their lack of confidence in the message itself; that is, they don’t really trust their argument, their preparation, their communicative skills, and worse yet, the moving of the Holy Spirit, to be sufficient to communicate.

But it’s not just volume that I warn against. I would suggest that the frequent overuse of histrionics, emotional manipulation, visual gimmicks, innumerable pop culture references, dependence on dramatic lighting, the ubiquitous tinkling of the piano and other things to to create a suitable ambience, reveals how far removed modern preachers are from carefully studying the Word of God, developing over time a sound and comprehensive theology, respecting the true needs of their congregations for solid teaching, and depending upon the power of the Holy Spirit to make the Bible truths come alive in each listener’s life.

Oh, for a radical reformation in our pulpits, one which would have preachers spend more time studying the Bible and preparing thoughtful, profound, and cogent expositions of the texts of Scripture, so that the star of the church service would once again be the Word of God for it alone holds the promise to transform lives…and culture.