Good Column in the Standard

Gone the Way of the Street-corner Preacher

Paul Williams’s column is almost always the first thing I read in each week’s Christian Standard, and this week’s was good enough that I wanted to post a bit of it:

I do understand that what one does with one’s hands and what one says with one’s mouth are both intrinsically gospel. I am just concerned it won’t be long before all we have is hands. The words will be gone, lost in the media-speak of pop theology, “If you died tomorrow . . .”

In The Nature of Confession, Miroslav Volf is quoted expressing his concerns about the challenges facing contemporary theology—“Theologians are on the sidelines like the street-corner preachers of yesterday. They find themselves talking to a crowd too hurried to honor them with anything more than a fleeting glance.”

The upshot of the article is that preachers and teachers in congregations need to get back to thinking hard about theology, a sentiment that I’d echo and try to live out in my own congregation’s life. As I tell people who can’t understand why I traded my twenties for a Ph.D, what I’m doing isn’t just a job; I genuinely believe it’s a calling for those similarly-gifted Christians. And I’m not the least bit sorry that I’ve spent the last thirteen years reading harder and harder books; I can only hope that I serve well teaching what I’ve learned.

Incidentally, the letters to the editor page on the Standard‘s website has (what I think is) a funny letter from an AM radio listener angry at ESR’s Dr. Hull’s latest article. (The letter is dated 6/19/08.) Only an AM radio listener, I think, could ever mistake the Christian Standard for a mouthpiece of the DNC.

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