10 May 2019

Why I Hardly Went to Church for Years (A Confession)

As I write this, it’s Easter evening, the end of Holy Week 2019—and last night, my wife was confirmed into the Lutheran church at our congregation’s Easter Vigil service. It’s been wonderful, after years of migrating from city to city during college and law school, to settle into the rhythms of a local church community. That recognition is a little bittersweet, though, because it reminds me of an uncomfortable truth: there was a three- to

John Ehrett 0
26 Apr 2019

The Liturgical Function of the Sermon

“I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” -Richard Baxter The purpose of the sermon is frequently ill-defined. Without a clear objective, sermons can easily become chaotic and even counter-productive.  While I am writing from a specifically Anglican perspective, much of this critique of modern sermons and proposal for rectifying the problem can be applied more broadly. The problem of sermonic mercuriality must be properly diagnosed and

Wesley Walker 2
17 Jan 2018

Sermon-less Church: A Thought Experiment

“If you took away the sermon from your worship service, what sort of theology could you construct from what remains?” Sometime back, a Facebook friend shared this quote from Pastor Mark Jones and it got me thinking. What would a sermon-less church service look like? What messages and theology would it convey? Would we attend? Just how central is the sermon to Christian worship? In order to really consider this question, consider the state of

Jacob Prahlow 0
23 Aug 2017

How to Tell If a Sermon is Good

Every week, millions of people around the world situate themselves in moderately uncomfortable seating and listen to someone talk at them for an extended period of time. I am, of course, referring to Christians who attend church services and listen to sermons. But how can we tell if a sermon is good? This article suggests three sets of questions for reflecting on this question.

Jacob Prahlow 2
09 Aug 2017

What’s the Point of the Sermon? The Proclaimed Word of God.

The Proclaimed Word of God Too often when I enter the pew on a Sunday morning, I dread the coming sermon. Like many raised in Evangelical circles, the singing and musical part of the service seems the most natural. It is easy in our modern culture to connect emotionally and spiritually to music, perhaps too easy. Yet I know that after 20 minutes or so of beautiful hymns, I will have to endure 30 to

Chad Kim 0
15 May 2017

Webber on the Purpose of Worship

“My longing for a more satisfying worship grew as each route I took in worship led me to a dead end street. But after giving up the evangelistic approach to worship and after the unfulfilling experience of educational worship, I didn’t know what to do next. I was running out of reasons for being at church (Webber, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail).”1 In the opening quote above, Robert Webber’s personal experiences raise a legitimate question,

Jarrett Dickey 7
02 Dec 2015

Contemplating The Family Story

If you were a betting man (or woman), you’d probably agree that family stories are fairly memorable. So would I. Well, at least up until a couple weeks ago. It all started innocently enough. One of my sisters was taking a storytelling class. A recent assignment (beginning, you guessed it, a couple weeks ago) involved sharing one of those stories that must come up for a family gathering to actually be a family gathering. It

Jeff Reid 2
05 Oct 2015

Seminal Christian Thinkers: Augustine on the Lord’s Prayer

All Augustine sermon citations are taken from Sermon 80, Edmund Hill Translation1 Prayer has always been central to Christian communities. In America today, most are familiar with the text of the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ teaches his disciples in Matthew 6 (cf. Luke 11). The fact that such an ancient text continues to find relevance in the lives of each new generation says something significant about its worth. Yet popularity includes inherent drawbacks. Although millions can recite the

Benjamin Winter 2
21 Oct 2014

Pagan Christianity?

You occasionally hear it from the talking heads or on the History Channel. Maybe you notice an article about it on your newsfeed. Or catch the random title while browsing Amazon or Barnes and Nobles. Pagan Christianity: What you do on Sundays is really from Ancient Egypt, Imperial Rome, or Royal Greece and certainly is not real Christian worship. Maybe you listen for a few seconds, start to read that article, or read the back

Jacob Prahlow 11