"Just take a look at the best-selling authors in Christian bookstores. Listen for a minute or two to the parade of preachers on Christian television and radio. What are they promising? Your best life now. What are they preaching about? How to be authentic. How to make good career choices. How Hillary Clinton fits into Bible prophecy.
How many times have we heard conservative preachers use the Bible in exactly the same way that Jeremiah Wright uses it? Wright uses the Scripture as a background to get to what he thinks is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation from American oppression. Others use the Scripture as a background to get to what they think is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation through the American Dream.
Either way, Jesus is a way to get to what the preacher deems really important, be it national health care or “your best life now.” Either way, the end result is hell for the hearer who accepts this gospel, regardless of whether God damns or blesses America.
Last Easter Sunday, the new pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, where Wright is now pastor emeritus, preached from the biblical account of the crucifixion of Jesus, but did so as illustrative of the controversy over Wright. In other churches all over the country that same Sunday, many conservative “Bible-based” pastors preached from that same account, but the account of the crucifixion and Resurrection was used as illustrative of finding hope when you’re hopeless, of finding a light at the end of your tunnel.
In both cases, the preachers fit Jesus into a preexisting storyline. They did not call upon their hearers to find themselves in the storyline of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Jesus. For them, Jesus is a mascot, just for different agendas, none of which will last a minute past the Judgment Seat....
Preachers will always be tempted to bypass the problem behind the problems: captivity to sin, bondage to the accusations of the demonic powers, the sentence of death."
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Where Liberal and Conservative Preachers Go Wrong
Russell Moore offers an equal opportunity slam in Touchstone Magazine on how both liberal and conservative pastors get the Gospel wrong in the pulpit: