Today, in America, the idea of public speaking is rife with the idea of change. When our politicians speak, they are trying to change our minds, to make us like their policies. When the commercials come on TV, they are trying to get us to change products. Public speaking in America is the art or persuasion, of changing people's minds.
But this is not what the church is to be about - this is not "preaching". When I preach, I'm not trying to convince you of something. I'm not trying to make you suddenly vote for Jesus. I'm not even trying to get you to change you life.
Preaching is declaring reality, fact, truth. It's not change that sets you free, but Christ Jesus who is Himself the Truth.
You have sinned. Sin is death. This junk in your life - yeah, that's sin and death messing with you. But God became Man. Jesus suffered and died for your sin. He has risen from the dead. Because He has, you will too.
Those are not persuasion, those are not enticements - that's simple reality. That's completely true regardless of what you think or belief.
The problem is too much of the idea of persuasion has crept into American Preaching. We feel we have to convince people of everything - convince them to come to our church and not that one, convince them to vote for our political party (whether right or left), convince them to make their lives look just like we think it should be (whether that is a moral description, a wealth description, a social description). *WE* have to, because if we don't make them listen, who will!?!?!?
Preachers - it's not about you. It's not about the change that you think you can make, the advice that you give. That may be good, it may be bad.
It is about Christ Jesus. It is about the Word who became flesh, it's about He who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven. It is the reality that you are indeed a new creation, that the Holy Spirit is indeed the Giver of Life. That you are free indeed. This is all reality.
We report. We declare the Good News.
We don't need to be op-ed pieces trying to sway public opinion.