How should layfolk react to boring preaching?

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by timmopussycat, Jul 16, 2009.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Ben, I read the Spurgeon quote and agree with it.

    I would like to look more at that "ability/aptness/readiness to preach" passage.
  2. William Price

    William Price Puritan Board Freshman

    How should one react to boring preaching? Let's see...

    1. If the preaching is true to the Word, rejoice your spirit is being fed?

    2. Maybe check your flesh at the carpet outside?

    3. Quit listening to 'exciting' preachers who have not a biblical bone in their brain?

    Just my thoughts. No offense meant.
  3. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    I have visted Gregg Hariss's church. it was a long trip. I have known Gregg for more than 20 years. His "charismatic Reformed" congregation was underwhelming. The sermons out there involved (necessarily) technology, and father-administered comumnion. He's a Homeschool guru. That does not make him a Refrmed pastor.
  4. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Let's give it a rest folks.
  5. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I am not so sure the medical example fits does it? First off a medical doctor does not necessarily try to communicate to the psyche or soul as much as diagnose the physical and remedy something that is perceived as wrong because of symptoms. In fact an MD can have a lousy bedside manner and yet be an outstanding physician.

    On the other hand, and I have taken college courses in communication, a communicator has to determine who he is speaking to, to communicate the best possible way to illumine the mind and motivate the soul and mind to action or contemplation. He has to be able to identify his hearer and relate the message in a way that the hearer can understand and benefit from the communication. I think everyone here would acknowledge that.

    If someone came up to me and said that I didn't understand anything you said because it was way over my level of understanding then a problem has been identified. If a person comes up and says that I understand that you need to condescend to some of the people some of the time but that your sermons are so basic every week that I am just finding myself reading my Bible, another problem has been identified. These are legit critiques. My point in saying this is that I do believe that there is a place to humbly submit to listening to the audience and or congregation.

    Years ago we had a group called Faithful men where men who desired to go into the ministry were discipled and got the chance to test their abilities at preaching. Some good guys have been produced from that group. A few PCA guys have come from that group as well. When it was a particular persons time to preach a sermon and be judged by his peers I always told the guy to focus on the main objective. He was there to deliver God's message to the hearers. I told them that the hearers might think their job was to critique but the role for him was to let the Word of God do what 2 Timothy 3:16 says it is suppose to do. He was God's mouthpiece. He needed to worry about delivering God's message and let it do its work. I would encourage them that they need not fear the judgment of men as much as the judgment of Him whose word he was delivering.

    There is a balance in all of this I think. We are all fellow servants of one another and we need to help each other out in developing our talents that have been regenerated. I recognized a long time ago that I don't have the natural abilities to speak numerous times a week to groups. I am better at one on one discipleship. I do believe that some people are naturally gifted communicators and it is a gift from God that he uses when it is regenerate.

    At the same time I want to acknowledge that some people who have the natural abilities have no business in the pulpit. Yet they are there.

    A challenge from J. I. Packer.
    Holiness and Leadership - The PuritanBoard

    Another thing I want to say is that the message is what should stir the soul. Not how it is delivered. When we read the word of God it stirs our souls and awakens them. There is no fluctuation of an audible voice that is involved yet we are stirred. Their is no body movement exhibited to amplify the meaning. It is just plain simple reading. And it awakens with power. So I am more inclined to say content is what matters and not how it is delivered.

    Just some thoughts.
  6. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Reopening this thread.
    Keep to the original topic. i.e. confine comments to "boring" preaching and do not broaden the scope of the question by bringing in criticisms based upon aberrant preaching.
  7. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Does the qualification "apt to preach" also contain in it a presumption of the ability to preach? i.e. is natural speaking ability an evidence of the call and is lack of speaking ability an evidence of not being called?

    -----Added 7/20/2009 at 07:52:42 EST-----

    I just saw this; thanks Rev. Winzer, this makes a lot of sense.
  8. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I think the distinction that Chris made is an important one.

    As Rev. Winzer pointed out in another conversation, trying to nail down "boring preaching" is like trying to nail down a shadow. Nailing down aberrant preaching is much easier.

    One of the reasons there has been a talking past one another is that nobody here is defending aberrant preaching but there is a perception that this is being justified and that the listener just needs to "get over it." For instance, a man that does not prepare and does not exegete the text but merely presents personal opinions is not properly exercising the element of worship. Likewise, a man who claims that the Holy Spirit guides him and he does not exegete the Word is not, properly speaking, preaching.

    Hence, we need to keep the issue under some parameters so we don't continue to talk past the issue.

    1. Do people believe it is possible for a good preacher to be thought of as boring?
    2. Can preaching be sound but still be boring?
    3. If 2, what is the Biblical definition of "boring"?
    4. If a preacher is guilty of the "sin" of being boring, how is he supposed to distinguish between the undisciplined grumbler and the objective standard for "boring"?
  9. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    I have to wonder at how many people are bored by a sound sermon are simply used to having their minds titillated by the massive media culture in which we live. Where in Scripture does it tell us that a preacher must be able to keep the congregation in rapt anticipation?

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying 'boring' is good. But the mere phrase, 'I am bored.' is at its heart focused on self.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  10. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    [bible]2 Cor 10:10-12[/bible]
    It does seem to me that there is Biblical precedent for the idea that it is carnal to merely focus on how persuasive a person is.
  11. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm reminded of the quote from Thomas Boston. While not absolutely on point, it certaily can be applied.

  12. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    A few remarks concerning how layfolk should react to boring preaching...

    1. I’m confident in asserting that the kind of person who is going to be drawn to participate on the PB is likely to be someone who is going to concern himself almost exclusively with content with very little interest whatsoever in style. However, as Rich has graciously posted in the past, the overwhelming majority of the PB’s visitors are one or two time guests. My comments are primarily to these people.

    2. The OP asks the question of what lay folk should do in the face of boring preaching. This thread has 3 pages of comments with most of them seeming to concede that once in a “blue moon” there indeed may be a boring preacher, but the overwhelming majority of the time it is the listener’s problem. In the face of this perceived statistical probability that it isn’t the preacher’s problem, but rather YOUR problem, much of the advice is centered around essentially telling the lay person to “quit being entertainment driven.” I want to camp here for a moment. First, allow me to say that this thread, and the others like it, have been a blessing to me. That is to say, they have reminded me of the importance of praying specifically for the pastor’s sermon preparation and delivery – that he would clearly communicate what it is that he is trying to say in a manner that is conducive to me and the rest of the congregation keeping our minds engaged. Second, it has reminded me that worship takes effort on my part. While it is true that the pastor and the church leadership set a tone that makes worship more or less difficult for the participants, kind of like how I as a husband can set a tone for my wife that is more or less conducive to her being “engaged” in our lovemaking, ultimately as a worshipper the onus of responsibility is not on me to worry about the pastor, but rather the onus is on me to worry about me. Did I act prudently by getting a full night of sleep, to be well nourished, to have a sincere desire to learn God’s Word and to meet with the living God? These are the types of things for which God will hold me accountable. He isn’t going to hold me accountable for the pastor’s actions in the pulpit as he stands like a statue with a bored expression as he reads his sermon in an uneven monotone. God will hold him accountable for how he discharges his calling. You primarily worry about you. It may very well be that you are earnestly striving to be an active worshipper, and it could very well be that the pastor is the one with the problem. But pay careful attention to your own heart: If you let a grumbling, bitter spirit take hold of you, then (as I tell the married couples I counsel) YOU are the one with the primary problem. So if you are suffering under dry, unengaging, “preaching,” I suggest 2 things: 1. Focus on yourself. Ask God to show you how you can be a more attentive worshipper. Strive to be an active participant in your worship services. 2. Pray earnestly for your pastor – specifically for his preaching. Pray sympathetically, trying to bear in mind that it is difficult to prepare sometimes multiple sermons each week - every week - while trying to manage all the duties inherent in the office of pastor as well as trying to be a good husband and father. I can tell you that the work of doing exegesis and forming sermon points and subpoints takes time… and when you’re under the gun and you have many responsibilities, you may not have the extra time it takes to put the additional time into having a well-polished masterpiece with seamless transitions, perfect illustrations, “text-book quality” introduction and conclusion, piercing application, etc. Remember that even the best speakers have bad days. For instance, I have on two occasions attended Bethlehem Baptist Church (Piper’s church) and listened to him preach sermons that were so awkward and poorly fleshed out that I could look around the sanctuary and see a great many people with lost, disinterested expressions. And knowing this, bear in mind that humans tend to remember and focus on the negative more than the positive... so it is at least possible that indeed some of his sermons are engaging, but you're only recalling those that aren't.

    3. But to get to the question in the OP: What if your pastor isn’t just having a few “bad days,” but is chronically dry and boring and disinteresting? I’d want to push back and ask, “Was he like that when you became a member? If so, why did you stick around to become a member in the first place?” Your answer to that would be helpful. If you’re a member of the church, I would discourage you from simply disappearing. I would encourage you to tactfully address the subject with your pastor in private. Keep your comments about yourself, because you’re the only person whose mind you know. In other words, don’t say “Look around! Your dry preaching puts half the congregation to sleep.” First, you don't know why half the congregation is asleep. Second, such angry and inflammatory rhetoric is most certainly going to elicit a negative response... at least it would from me! Instead, humbly and gently – but not sheepishly – say, “I’m trying with all my might to be an active listener and worshipper, but consistently the way you phrase things, your tone, your “presence” in the pulpit (whatever it is) makes it almost impossible for me to stay engaged.” Now, I need to be honest with you – expect a defensive reaction. You may not get one, but you should be prepared for it. The reason is that a pastor puts himself into his sermon. When you criticize his sermon, particularly his “style,” you’re criticizing him. And he’s a man. And men get defensive when something as intimately personal as what they put into their presentation gets criticized. After you speak with the pastor, keep praying for him. Give him time. If things don’t change, share your concerns with the leadership of your church. Again, be humble and speak for yourself. If the leadership’s consensus is that the pastor’s preaching is fine and that you’re just being nitpicky, you have a couple options: 1. Prayerfully e-examine your heart to see if the assessment of the leadership is accurate. 2. Prayerfully re-assess why you’re at this particular church. Keep in mind, however, that there is more to a local church than just the preaching. Perhaps the preaching is dry and boring, but you love everything else about this church. Are you going to throw all that away to go find a church with more engaging preaching? If not, then you need to just keep your mouth shut and get what you can from the preaching. If you ARE determined that the homiletic quality of the sermons is of paramount importance, then I believe integrity requires that you formally advise the leadership of the church that you will be seeking out a new church home. In no case should you be a "trouble-maker" and try to form a coalition of malcontents within the church or simply speak ill of the man or leadership... if you do that, then again, your bitter spirit is manifest and as sure as I'm sitting here typing this... you are indeed the one with the problem. Whatever you do, let me be clear that while I am convinced that at the end of the day it is permissible to leave if you are chronically put to sleep and/or you regularly wonder what on earth your pastor spent his week doing because it “obviously” wasn’t spent in sermon prep because his sermons are so poorly constructed and/or delivered that they actually hinder you from being fed by the content of them, it should nonetheless be a last resort. Take your membership vows seriously.

    Just my thoughts. Take them for what they're worth.
  13. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    While the moderators and admins certainly try to keep a thread organized to respect the intent of the poster, the poster doesn't own the thread. I understand what you're after but it's the moderators who have to maintain good order here and the thread became undisciplined because it was so open ended.

    This thread needs to stay upon the topic of "boring preaching" because, like it or not, it is being equivocated with "aberrant preaching". The former is a subjective apprehension and I think it is worth working people through their assumptions about the theology of "boring" and challenging people to come up with one rather than assuming their hearts are an appropriate gauge of the issue.

    If you want to discuss aberrant preaching, its nature and how others respond to it, then I think we need a new thread because this thread has been too contaminated by the back and forth that existed due to the confusion in the matter.
  14. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Chris, my original intent of this thread was badly put. Because I had experienced declines from competent to aberrent preaching that were intially misdiagnosed as "boring preaching" I used that term without clarifying the real question I wanted to address was how congreations and individuals ought to address one specific form of aberrent preaching which if my experience is anything to go by, will be something congregations need to address from time to time.

    -----Added 7/20/2009 at 11:53:43 EST-----

    I have moved that post which was #104 in this thread to start a new thread "How should layfolk react to aberrant preaching?
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  15. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    When I find myself bored it is almost always due to lack of application. Most times I am bored it is because the preacher fails to apply. I guess this could be a preaching "abberation", though there are stylistic matters and matters of mannerisms at stake also.

    Also, I find I get bored when preachers (thankfully this is rare) read almost direct from manuscripts. This type of boredom is almost purely due to the style of the preacher (i.e. dry, monotone, reading, little eye contact)and not any deficiency of content. I suppose you guys might be more spiritual than I if you can get excited at such things, but if the preacher is merely going to read, why not just pass out his notes to the congregation? So, while some cases of boredom can be attributed to content, there are cases, like the monotone-sermon-manuscript-reader where the boredom is not due to content but style.

    In the case of the manuscript reader, it would appear that his preaching could be "sound" and still "boring." It would also appear that efforts to blame the listener for lack of profiting much from the Word can only go so far when the listener must work that hard at it.

    A biblical defintiion of boring? Poor presentation, which would cause boredom (or confusion) would be like a trumpet of an uncertain sound, which is ill spoken of in Scripture. It would appear that being apt to preach would also assume a certain ableness to preach as well (like Spurgeon's quote above), and thus a certain level of speaking ability is a prerequisite.

    P.s. I know the word 'boring" is subjective. But I used it because if I used the word "deficient" preaching or "bad" praching, then most would assume that this deficiency would be a deficiency of content and not style, and deficiencies of style, presentation, clarity, mannerism, and even inflection was what I was trying to ask about, i.e., a-theological reasons that still negatively impact preaching.
  16. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Again, however, you are dealing with subjective points: "I get bored when...." Is that normative? Are you stating you are bored because, exegetically speaking, you are demonstrating the Scriptural marks of a boring sermon?

    I get bored watching football. Ergo, football is boring.

    I'm not sure why this keeps getting boiled down to "blame" the listener. We're asking the question what is boring and is there an objective standard or warrant for boring. The question of whether or not the listener might have to try "too hard" is also interesting. Precisely how hard (and no more) is the listener supposed to be attentive and, beyond that, boredom is objectively warranted?
  17. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If we eliminate the word boring totally.....

    At what point due deficiencies of style negatively impact the listener enough and make it sufficiently hard enough to profit from a preacher's preaching such that one is warranted to seek another place of feeding on Sunday?
  18. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    No, we're not going there. This thread is about "boring" sermons. The reason it's tempting to move on is because nobody can pin it down and we either need to decide we cannot and accept that and end the thread or keep trying.
  19. Exiled_2_God

    Exiled_2_God Puritan Board Freshman


  20. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    I think Pergy's rephrased question more accurately spells out what is intended - at least by me - when I employ the vernacular term, "boring."

    Rich - are you insinuating that if a definition can't be "pinned down" then there is no reality to it? (I am, for some strange reason, being drawn to recall a certain Justice's comments about the nature of p0rnography...)
  21. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I'm not saying that boredom doesn't exist, Ben, but that we need to define something a bit better than saying: "I think...."

    p0rnography is a sin. We can find it in the Scriptures.

    Is "being boring" a sin?

    Also, I find many things boring that you probably find interesting. I work on servers for hours with delight. Am I boring?

    I've attended lectures on terrorism where the speaker, in typical style, read his paper for the seminar. It was not delivered well but the topic was interesting. Was it a "boring" lecture or not?
  22. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    If one defines a 'boring sermon' as 'a sermon the only problem with which is the listener's spiritual interest' then by definition boring preaching is never an objective problem, and there is little left to do but (hopefully gently!) rebuke those who think it is -- thanks to Rich for trying to clarify the definitions we're working with as I think that has been very confusing to many of us who aren't sure exactly where everyone is coming from.
    If 'boring' is being used to indicate a situation where there may be problems beyond the listener: where the pastor is possibly speaking as Randy mentioned, over people's heads or consistently giving the same basic material, then I think the medical analogy is actually workable one. I have several illnesses which went undiagnosed for years: the doctors would give me tests for things they thought probable, write prescriptions, and when nothing turned up and the pain didn't respond, they would tell me it was all in my head (and that I would be 'all better' if I merely preferred parties to books). I couldn't tell them how to do their job: I didn't know how to figure out what was wrong with me -- I didn't want to do their job: I was there because I wanted them to do it. But I knew that the pain I was experiencing in spite of their treatments was real; and I insisted on the reality of my symptoms until they wrote that I was a lunatic in my medical records. At length I found a doctor who listened, and figured it out. I was baffled to understand why someone would go into the medical industry if they don't care to hear whether or not a patient is being helped by their prescriptions. I'm similarly confused as to why a minister would not wish to hear from the elderly woman in the congregation whether a sermon is understandable and profitable to her in her own peculiar struggles (and in fact, I've not met a minister who genuinely has this attitude, but there is some confusion about what exactly such a woman has any right to say in the thread?). Surely she isn't at that point addressing the minister on how he ought to do his job, which is beyond her 'ken'. She's addressing him on things she herself knows and experiences and is qualified to speak of -- how the job he is doing affects her, the soul under care? Insofar as Christ said 'feed my sheep' and she is a sheep, isn't his job 'about her'?
    I think one big concern is that if we assume that a minister is necessarily, by virtue of either specialised education or higher spirituality, above selfish motivations and personal tastes in not wishing to receive such feedback from regular auditors while the congregation almost necessarily partakes of such in giving any, surely we are promoting the wrong kind of 'inegalitarianism' in the church (that one person's motivations are necessarily purer or more spiritual than someone else's merely because of specialised education, position etc)? I can't think that this is really what is being advocated, but reading as carefully as I can, it seems like it is a point that could profit from further clarification for us laypeople who have been confused?
    Certainly, given our sinful state, we should not presume on the purity and selflessness of our own motives in finding a sermon unprofitable. I think Randy is right about the balance.
    I'm also much in favor of communicating with a minister about what in his sermons has been helpful to one's faith and joy, not as an underhand attempt to tell him how to do his job, but as a natural expression of gratitude, which would hopefully help to safeguard against his being overly discouraged when he gets negative comments.
  23. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Traits of boring speeches:

    (1) lack of clarity or volume, such that the listener is fatigued due to the strain of trying to squeeze meaning out of the mumbles

    (2) lack of inflection, whereby the listener is strained from working trying to figure out what the speaker is emphasizing. Lack of movement up or down in the voice in volume pitch/inflection, along with a lack of hand or body movement makes the speaker appear to be a statue possessing the voice of an automaton.

    (3) A monotone voice that does not slightly pause between thoughts strains the listeners to figure out when one point stops and the next one starts.

    (4) Lack of connection with the audience, whereby the speaker fails to engage the audience by eye contact, involvement, rhetorical questions, questions or comments that incite thought in the minds of the listeners. A sermon manuscript reader might fall into this is they fail in eye contact.

    (5) speech deficiences, wandering thoughts, stammers, long pauses while the speaker tries to remember what they say... this all serves to break the fluid momentum of a speech or sermon

    (6) Lack of application: This may be argued to be a matter of content and not style.

    (7) speaking in terms not familiar to the audience, i.e.,over their heads. While this is helpful sometimes to teach the audience new words, done too much, it may tax the reader and steal attention from the main thrust of the speech/sermon.

    Combined together, some speeches or sermons require much more energy to listen to profitably and to profit from. The combined effect of many stylistic deficiencies kills momentum, robs engagement with the audience and makes some speeches very hard to sit through.

    The normal way of describing this situation is that a speech is "boring" even though this lacks scientific precision. I suppose to qualify under this definition of "boring" one would not need 100% in atendance admitting boredom, but if a large majority of the audience finds it dificult to hear, understand, and stay engaged with the words of the speaker, then the word boring would fit this description. Poor presentation, however, ifnotalways boring but sometimes mildly distressing and amusing, but "boring" would be one sub-category under the broader category of "poor speech."

    Many definitions of real phenomenoms are nevertheless subjective to a degree, yet it makes the thing no less real if there is a measure of subjectivity in its definition. I have given some traits of "boring" where a majority of people would proably agree. I see no reason for scandal in admitting that some sermons are boring.

    If one is moving to a new town and he goes to a church where the sermons normally exhibit 4 or more of the above symptoms, a diagnosis of "probably boring" might be called for and I would not fault the man if he seeks out proper feeding of his soul in a place that does not take quite so much work to gain profit.

    -----Added 7/20/2009 at 01:08:53 EST-----

    Rich, this thread nowhere says that being boring is a sin.

    I would argue that a trend of being boring is evidence of lack of ability to speak, which I would argue is a mark of being qualified to preach.

    But, my original intent was to merely assert that style (non-theological factors) does matter in preaching and not bare content.

    -----Added 7/20/2009 at 01:17:00 EST-----

    p.s. I do find it a bit humorous that even the very existence of a single boring sermon is contested.
  24. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Rich - the reference to p0rnography was not about morality, it was about definition - the whole "I know it when I see it" definition. It was intended to be an allusion to the fact that somethings are very difficult to define with objective and aboslute precision, but that doesn't undermine the reality of the thing... Some things are difficult to define, we just "know it" when we see it.

    I think you're asking for too much. You're asking for an absolute definition when "boring" is inherently subjective - even when a group of people agree that someone or something is "boring" that can never be more than a collectively held subjective belief. So the best you can ask is "Am I boring to YOU" or "was the lecture boring to you?"

    I understand that conservative folks are somewhat uncomfortable with subjective things, because it smells of postmodernism, but that's the way things are on occasion. Which is why my guidance on the subject has always been relatively directed to the individual - if it is boring to YOU then consider doing this or that. Can the pastor consistently preach sermons that maintain the attention of everybody in his congregation? Well, some seem to be able to do, but most "can't." The best the pastor can do is his best. Obviously, if the subjective consensus of the entire congregation is that the pastor is boring, then the congregation can take measures to address that.
  25. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Under the stringent requirements placed on someone before they are allowed to use the term "boring" one could also never refer to a sermon as "exciting" either or "captivating" - one must stick to terms such as "doctrinally correct or "in error" and leave all emotionally-laden subjective terms aside.
  26. Exiled_2_God

    Exiled_2_God Puritan Board Freshman

    Many today would presumably say that Jonathan Edwards (if he were alive to speak today) is boring, due to his dynamic in speaking...

    I say "many" because obviously some of us would eat it up. So does this then point to the audience? Since "boring" is so subjective, the only telltale sign of a good message seems to be that doctrine and scriptural exposition.

    (I can't talk someone into believing that chocolate is the most satisfying flavor in the world.)
  27. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    You just talked me into believing it.
  28. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    "boring" IS subjective, but not totally subjective. Beauty is subjective too, but we usually know when we see a really ugly person.
  29. Exiled_2_God

    Exiled_2_God Puritan Board Freshman

    Isn't "totally subjective" subjective. Not trying to be cute, but one can question "totally." I'm sure the ugly person's mom always told him he was handsome. :)
  30. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I also think this thread is reaching its conclusion. I am thankful for the insights that I gained, even the insights I disagreed with. I am also thankful for the many fine sermons that I have heard which clearly and passionately proclaimed the Good News of our sovereign God.

    To summarize my own view:

    (1) I think that content matters, but also style/mannerisms.

    (2) Being apt to preach also means having some measure of ability (though we need not be eloquent).

    (3) I also think that as people move churches and try to figure out where to worship that not merely doctrinal content is important but I believe that a family will be better blessed to choose a place where the delivery makes it easier to receive the truth rather than straining to make a sermon profitable.

    (4) I think that seminaries and Bible schools have a duty to teach preaching in a way that the content of sermons is not the only thing critiqued but great care is also taken to develop the preacher as a good speaker.

    (5) I also think that congregations have a great duty to listen well such that they profit out of whatever sermon is given.

    God bless you brothers, and thanks for giving me meat to chew on!
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