Chapter 4 of Pagan Christianity deals with the topic of the sermon. We had a couple of interesting discussions about the sermon previously on my blog here and here. If you go to read them, don’t skip the comments because, as usual, the best stuff is always in the comments.
In my post Underlying Issues, I said this about the sermon:
We are convinced that a church system which allows believers to fulfill their weekly spiritual obligation by listening to a sermon creates a consumerist audience who have not been encouraged to step into the responsibility of being a disciple and discipling others.
Here is a little of what the book said:
“The ancient Greeks and Romans viewed rhetoric as one of the greatest forms of art. Consequently, Greco-Roman culture developed an insatiable appetite for hearing someone give an eloquent oration. Orators were given celebrity status.”
“Many of these became theologians and leaders in the early Christian church. They began to use their oratorical skills for Christian purposes.”
“So a new style of communication was being birthed in the Christian church – a style that emphasized polished rhetoric, sophisticated grammar, flowery eloquence, and monologue. Only those who were trained in it were allowed to address the assembly.”
The book continues with an interesting description of how over the years the sermon became the central focus of the Protestant worship service.
So what are the principles influenced by this practice?
- every-member ministry
- mutual edification
One final statement from the book:
“The normative church meeting is when every member of the church comes together to share his or her portion of Christ.”
Do you agree with this statement?