Have you ever walked out in the middle of a bad sermon?

Discussion in 'A Puritan's Mind Updates' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Dec 20, 2015.

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  1. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher


    The Uselessness of Church Entertainers, the Second Act

    Keep in mind....1) the church this happened in holds to the Bible and WCF. 2) we heard this fellow for multiple sermons. 3) we spoke with one of the elders about the poor preaching, and what should be done. Suffice it to say, status quo, don't rock the boat. Its deplorable.

    He should get out of the pulpit and into the pew. And so should the presbytery and session that continues to allow it.

    This kind of thing happens all over the US on a weekly basis. Pray God sends true harvesters out into the harvest.
  2. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Decently and in order, friend. Decently and in order. :westminster:
  3. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Instead of this preacher's personal story we have been drawn into the writer's personal story in which he experiences poor preaching. Instead of a sermon which teaches nothing about God and Christ, we are directed to read an article which teaches nothing about God and Christ. Adding to the problem is no way to address it.
  4. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    At least it wasn't a PCA church.

    It does point up the advantage of the larger churches. Any pastor has strengths and weaknesses. A multi-pastor church allows a man to play to his strengths.
  5. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes. Mostly when having moved to a new city and trying new places of worship. One, we left when the music cranked up. Didn't make it to the sermon.
  6. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Both the previous article on God's sending true pastors, and this one in being zealous as Christ was about church, teach us much about Christ, and God's worship.

    Why not share what you would do if you were attending a church in a denomination you were not part of and fell victim to church speaking?

    How would you deal with the situation if there was no other viable place to worship, (instead of just commenting on adding to the problem, which seems to add to the problem, according to your logic in what you just stated.)
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  7. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Why might it not be a PCA church?
  8. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    Ought blog posts and sermons to be judged by the same criteria? It is essential to a sermon to teach of God and Christ, whereas a article posted online may properly speak of any number of other things, no?
  9. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I would agree, even though BOTH the previous articles did say much on God and Christ.

    Maybe we could constructively comment on what we could practically do to help?
  10. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Let's say that the church you visited and walked out of once the music cranked up WAS a PCA church, How would you handle that decently and in order? If at all?
  11. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    This catches me at a time when I've realized that a very capable man left the pulpit to return to a job that matches his pre-seminary education. (Apparently on good terms with his presbytery.) If you've been in a church where God's people are poorly shepherded, or sat in a lousy sermon -- or two, or ten dozen -- you recognize this is a huge loss to the church.

    Doubtless, as believers we are getting caught up with the unjust. Any nation that promotes gay "unions," abortion, divorce, etc. from the pulpit justly deserves whatever God sends. When we see the Word being flaunted in front of us, we are heartbroken and should rightly call upon God for His mercy upon His church. This full-fledged abandonment of God's Word may not be happening in our local church, but that doesn't mean we will escape His wrath at some point in the future.

    The erosion as seminaries edge closer to poor theology, or emphasize "practical" subjects over systematic theology and the original languages, will eventually get to all of us unless God intervenes. (The preacher in question sounds like he received shovels full of advice about winning an audience and very little on communicating God's word.) However, it is still God's church even if it's barely giving lip-service to sound doctrine. When necessary, we can vote with our feet and avoid attending a church that promotes entertainment, man-centered preaching or pseudo-doctrine. Or we can settle for very poor theology and at least go someplace that "takes His Word literally" in a fundamentalist fashion. (Been there, done that!) Short of blasphemy (see vote with our feet) we should not draw attention to ourselves during worship. And that's what getting up and leaving during a sermon would do. At least in Presbyterian circles, we have means of redress, even if they take forever and don't always work.

    Unless God stays His hand, there will be fewer and fewer places we can go. Sometimes, those who truly love the Word will be stuck somewhere. Recognize you are along the Kebar River, in a foreign land, somewhere where God's judgment is very real. Pray for mercy. If you are currently in a good church, do everything in your power to support that work and greatly encourage the men who have been given an incredibly difficult burden.
  12. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Excellent post.
  13. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    no, I think you were rude frankly. You could have read the bible or practiced spelling the text in morse code ( I've done that) or sign language. Or pulled out your phone and looked at this website to pass the time. Your failure to vet the church properly before hand is no excuse to be disruptive to others. You can sit through the dentist filling your teeth, that is way worse.

    If you sat in the back row and nobody saw you I take this back.
  14. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Sure. Who can stand in the way of journalistic freedom? It is a law unto itself.
  15. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Yes. We sat in the back. We always do.
    And yes, I've passed that time reading the Bible, WCF, Catechisms, etc.

    There are 187 churches in our area. 2 are confessional. The greater lot are Arminian, or atheistical. The Methodist Church has a self avowed atheist for their pastor. There are also a couple of cults.

    We always do as much vetting as we can.
  16. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    What has journalistic freedom to do with the matter at hand? That certainly was not my point and blog posts are in no way beyond criticism. Rather, there is a peculiar type of content which is essential to the nature of a sermon but which is not to most other communications. To accuse one for lacking the characteristics of another is a category mistake. Does your criticism of his criticism teach more of God and Christ than his did?
  17. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    You are right; I have done nothing to improve the situation. If one steps into mud he can expect to get dirty. Nor should I have thought that I could bring a clean thing out of an unclean. I should have left it alone.
  18. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    My husband and I, by mutual unspoken agreement (looks only) walked out at the beginning of a sermon that was mere entertainment. We were uninvited to return to the location. It was and still is the only English-medium "worship" service within 6 hours drive of our home. It was and is 15 minutes away. Since then we have had our own Sunday worship with the two of us at home. It is wonderful, makes me wonder why I ever sat through a lousy church service ever before.
  19. johnny

    johnny Puritan Board Sophomore

    I really liked the article Matthew and I didn't perceive it as mean spirited,
    I actually sent it to my friends to read, before I started reading everyone's posts.

    We are leaving our church on Christmas day, it has been taken over by another congregation.
    The amalgamation occurs on the 27th of December, so I have changed my signature early.
    This has been a difficult time for us, we have had some very good preaching from the Annerly Congregation
    who have supported us, and also some very poor preaching from other places that resembles your article.
    So I sent it out to my friends from church who are leaving too, because we can relate to it.

    Its hard to fill a pulpit twice a day with able preachers when there isn't many around.
    Our Elders did a great job in difficult circumstances, its tough out there, I really feel a great empathy now for smaller congregations who are under pressure to increase their membership or be swept away.
    This has been an interesting experience for us, I have kept it mostly off this forum,

    I had metioned previously that a Church with some loose ties to Douglas Wilson's theology was looking like taking us over. Since then that church has distanced itself from D.W. and has even changed its name. It hasn't stopped its practice of Paedo Communion though, but we are ready to move on and are thanking God for his provision for us, and I really do wish the new church all the best,
    (only three families have left and we are one of them)

    I also would like to personally thank every one here on Puritanboard for all your help.
    I am so indebted to this forum and the wisdom and discernment that comes from it.
    Thank you so so much for this place, thank you, thank you, thank you....

    I hope this hasn't derailed the thread too much.
  20. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I don't recall ever walking out since under sound preaching since the mid 1980s. I would think one has to be part of the church in question to be in a position to help it significantly.
  21. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    The specification that the Presbytery sent the man. PCA BCO 22-5 and 22-6. Primary responsibility is on the session for the stated supply. Presbytery approval of the man is required if it is a student or a ruling elder; presbytery approves the length of the call.

    As a practical matter, the session might ask the PCA Presbytery for suggestions or guidance as to available men (frequently a retiree or a man without a pulpit call), but the responsibility would remain on the local church body.

    And, depending on the history of the congregation, one should not overlook the advantages of having a poor interim/stated supply preaching. No matter how beloved the departing pastor was, a few months of poor sermons will may make the new pastor look pretty good to the congregation.

    Without listening to the sermons in question, I can't comment on the specifics of the situation in which you found yourself. I can see situations in which I would walk out, but it would probably have to be something more egregious than poor construction and delivery. Of course, I am coming from a moderate perspective, and others could reach that point more quickly.
  22. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Brother, I regret my post. A lot of people feel like sitting through something silently validates it, and feel the need to speak up or walk out. It is your conscience. If you did it as a matter of conscience, then good. This nation needs more men who are not wimps. I apologize. Keep a clear conscience.
  23. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I have walked out of a church service a couple of times, but I never made it to the sermon. The music was enough for me.
  24. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I haven't walked out but, I did go to college group (invited by a friend who was my ride) where though Christ and his death for our sins was preached, it was an awful mini sermon or whatever it was. It was Driscoll like as he went through John 2. Not quite cursing but it was close and obnoxious. And I remember when he was going through the part where Jesus say 'Woman, my time has not yet come.' He was talking about the part as if Jesus said 'woman' in the modern derogatory sense and yet doing so is ok. He also went off on some tangent about how Jesus would be the cool kid today always being invited to parties and stuff. I couldn't wait to leave.
  25. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I most likely would stay until the end, and then ask the preacher if they ever heard of expository preaching.
  26. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I think that's part of my dilemma. Since the choice of sound churches in our area is so limited (simply based on having a solid confession - whether they follow that or not is another thing altogether) and not being officially part of them, it's hard to be of help, but equally hard to endure the circumstance.

    What does one then do?
  27. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Lynnie, no harm done.You would be dead on if we made a spectacle of it. We just couldn't endure another minute. We should have not given him the benefit of the doubt upon first look at the worship service in the bulletin. But we were hoping...
  28. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    Begin praying about planting a church?
  29. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Be part of a church plant that may or may not work out, or join the most sound even if on paper church and work to improve it, which may indeed take a long time or not work out. But you need to commit to some path; remaining "out" of the visible church is simply a different recipe for disaster.
  30. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner


    It is also interesting that much of what passes for neo-Puritanism today is really neo-Brownism. I know that our circumstances are not exactly the same as those of the 17th century, but if everyone followed Chris's advice there would be far fewer problems of this nature.
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