- This video seems to feel more and more accurate with each passing day.
- This is something the American church has largely forgotten to teach. Or maybe “forgotten” is the wrong word. “Neglected” might be more accurate, since pastors and church leaders can’t possibly have forgotten this truth. (Right?)
- Retweeted on Twitter: “No text can be understood out of its entire context. The most ‘entire’ context is Jesus.”
- Posted on Facebook: “God has a plan and purpose for each of us. Know that Jesus Christ died so that you could live.”
- Someone had to go all the way back to 2015 to find a gem from Desiring God. (It’s been a bit dicey over there the past few years.)
“Don’t follow your heart. God did not design our hearts to be followed, but to be led.”
- Here’s what Pastor Troy accidentally stumbled upon from 2017. He had forgotten he’d written it:
This video from last month somehow escaped my notice until it was shared with me via Facebook today. It is a video of political commentator David Brooks’ first ever “sermon”.
David Brooks has a measured style and delivery. I appreciate this about what he shared from the pulpit. He offers his studied perspective, challenges people to consider things differently than they might currently consider them, and he even tells a self-effacing joke. These are things I also appreciate about what he shared from the pulpit.
From a Christian worship perspective, I’m not sure this represents what the church should expect of its sermons, however. The first half of the message focuses primarily on the specific building within which Mr. Brooks happened to be speaking. The second half of his address focuses primarily on American politics. (At least he does mention the name of Jesus one time, at about the midway point of his talk. Until that point, I was beginning to wonder if he would ever mention the name of Jesus even once.)
Mr. Brooks alludes to four different books of the Bible, but he quotes from none of them. He does, however, provide quotes from Plato, C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Day, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Tim Keller, Russel Reno, Bill Milingon, Richard Niebuhr, and Reinhold Niebuhr. He also suggests that Christians in the USA probably do not now face a “Bonhoeffer moment”. I should hope not! Dietrich Bonhoeffer involved himself in a conspiracy to kill the leader of his own nation!
Mr. Brooks gave a fine speech. (Other than the sloppiness of his Bonhoeffer remarks.) However, it simply does not meet the criteria of a sermon; at least not a sermon that churchgoers should expect (demand!) to be preached from their pulpits. Many Christians (myself included) are fans of most of the people Mr. Brooks quoted. Many Christians (myself included) appreciate beautiful church-building architecture and beautiful worship services. BUT, and it is a huge BUT, Christian sermons need to be about Jesus Christ. Christian sermons must bring the hearers of the sermon to the foot of the cross. Christian sermons have a duty to present the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (and do so from God’s Word, rather than merely the words of mere men and women).
David Brooks has provided us with an interesting speech. I am thankful for this. What he had to say would have made for a nice church lecture. Yet, my heart aches with sadness that it was delivered in place of a sermon to a gathering of God’s people needing to be reminded of the loving mercy and righteous rule of their Lord, Savior, and King.
Share Christ today,
Pastor Troy Skinner