5 Responses to the Anti-authoritarian Mood Against Preaching

This post is part of The Disciple Making Preacher series. This series attempts to answer those who are against preaching and to propose that preaching is an irreplaceable means of disciple making in the church today.

Some wisdom from the late John Stott (27 April 1921 – 27 July 2011) on responding to the anti-authoritarian mood against preaching:

The prophets of doom in today’s Church are confidently predicting that the day of preaching is over. It is a dying art, they say, an outmoded form of communication, ‘an echo from an abandoned past’. Not only have modern media superseded it, but it is incompatible with the modern mood.

What is the anti-authoritarian mood against preaching?

Seldom if ever in its long history has the world witnessed such a self-conscious revolt against authority. Not that the phenomenon of protest and rebellion is new.

What seems new today, however, is both the world-wide scale of the revolt and the philosophical arguments with which it is sometimes buttressed…All the accepted authorities (family, school, university, State, Church, Bible, Pope, God) are being challenged.

Stott gives 5 responses to the anti-authority mood against preaching:

God’s Vision and Mission for the Living Church

From The Living Church: Convictions of A Lifelong Pastor by John R. W. Stott (1921 – 2011):

The Mission of the Church

We believe that the church has a double identity. On the one hand we are called out of the world to belong to God, and on the other we are sent back into the world to witness and to serve. Moreover, the mission of the church is modeled on the mission of Christ. He himself said so. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). His mission meant for him the incarnation. He did not stay in the safe immunity of his heaven. Instead, he emptied himself of his glory and humbled himself to serve. He actually entered our world. He took our nature, lived our life, and died our death. He could not have identified with us more closely than he did. It was total identifacation, though without any loss of identity, for he became one of us without ceasing to be himself. He became human without ceasing to be God.

And now he calls us to enter other people’s worlds, as he entered ours. All authentic mission is incarnational mission. We are called to enter other people’s social and cultural realit: into their thought-world, struggling to understand their misunderstandings of the gospel, and into the pain of their alienation, weeping with those who weep. And all this without compromising our Christian beliefs, values and standards.