What is the most important thing to do in our preaching?

What would you say is the single most important thing in preaching—either as the person preaching or as someone who listens? I guess many people would suggest clarity of delivery, or humour, or connecting with the congregation, or being based in Scripture. All of these are of great importance, though of course all are open to a range of interpretations.

As I continue to preach myself, and sit and listen to the sermons of others, I keep coming back to something I first learned more than 25 years ago, and feel I keep on needing to learn:

Focus more on what God has done, 
and less on what we ‘ought’ to do.

Why is this important? I think for several reasons.

Did Luke get his nativity history wrong?

A couple of years ago I watched the film Gravity. The effects were spectacular, the photography breathtaking, the characterisations engaging, and the story held one’s attention throughout. It even raised some profound (religious?) questions about life, death and purpose. And yet, when I left the cinema, I could not decide whether I had enjoyed the film or … Continue Reading

Was Luke mistaken about the date of Jesus’ birth?

A couple of years ago I watched the film Gravity. The effects were spectacular, the photography breathtaking, the characterisations engaging, and the story held one’s attention throughout. It even raised some profound (religious?) questions about life, death and purpose. And yet, when I left the cinema, I could not decide whether I had enjoyed the film or … Continue Reading

Does critical thinking lead to sceptical theology?

Last month, John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, wrote in the Church Times an eirenic but penetrating review of Sceptical Christianity: Exploring credible belief by Robert Reiss: He believes that we should engage with his doubts — about the Virgin birth, the incarnation, the resurrection and life after death, to name some. His heroes, whom he quotes … Continue Reading

Was Luke in error about the date of Jesus’ birth?

Before Christmas 2013 I watched the film Gravity. The effects were spectacular, the photography breathtaking, the characterisations engaging, and the story held one’s attention throughout. It even raised some profound (religious?) questions about life, death and purpose. And yet, when I left the cinema, I could not decide whether I had enjoyed the film or not. For … Continue Reading