Sunday, March 26, 2006
Pop-psychology vs. the Systematic Preaching of the Word
In the coming days I plan to elaborate on my journeys growing up in the ministry of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. As has been stated in the initial welcome post, both myself and Matt possess a good deal of experience with the aforementioned church and its related ministries. This includes not only kindergarten through 12th grade, but also four years at Hyles-Anderson College.
For the moment, however, I would like to provoke thought regarding their philosophy of the ministry of preaching. Jack Hyles was certainly famous for grand storytelling, and Pastor Jack Schaap is also quite adept at this art. Now then, before you current members pounce on me to prove me wrong regarding the current leadership there, let me express that I don’t doubt that Schaap may stay closer to his text as a whole than his late father-in-law. The point that I would like to make is this: if we as Christians truly believe what the Word speaks about itself, namely Hebrews 4:12, why is the ratio of pop-psychology application to Scriptural exegesis so lopsided? If one were to visit the chapel sermons section of the college website they would not need to listen for long before finding this to be the stark reality.
This is one that for the life of me I have been unable to figure out since leaving FBCH and its related ministries. In retrospect it appears as such a pronounced wart on their theological nose, yet I highly doubt that the leadership there has thought twice regarding it. For this I am saddened. What I fear is that their reason for avoiding systematic teaching and preaching is that it would "quench" the "fire" of the preacher boy crowd and thus do damage to their numerical and visible results. That would be less than befitting for the "flagship church of fundamentalism", no doubt.
The truth is that nothing is more powerful than the "twoedged sword" of Scripture. What could produce more authentic fruit for the Kingdom of God than a disciplined exposition of the "holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."? Let us endeavor to pray that hearts may be changed regarding this issue.
Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."