By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Jan 3, 2013
I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27)
The church today is quite possibly more susceptible to false teachers, doctrinal saboteurs, and spiritual terrorism than any other generation in church history. Biblical ignorance within the church may well be deeper and more widespread than at any other time since the Protestant Reformation.
If you doubt that, compare the typical sermon of today with a randomly chosen published sermon from any leading evangelical preacher prior to 1850. Also compare today’s Christian literature with almost anything published by evangelical publishing houses a hundred years or more ago.
Bible teaching, even in the best of venues today, has been deliberately dumbed down, made as broad and as shallow as possible, oversimplified, adapted to the lowest common denominator — and then tailored to appeal to people with short attention spans.
Sermons are almost always brief, simplistic, overlaid with as many references to pop culture as possible, and laden with anecdotes and illustrations. (Jokes and funny stories drawn from personal experience are favored over cross-references and analogies borrowed from Scripture itself.)
Typical sermon topics are heavily weighted in favor of man-centered issues (such as personal relationships, successful living, self-esteem, how-to lists, and so on) — to the exclusion of the many Christ-exalting doctrinal themes of Scripture.
In other words, what most contemporary preachers do is virtually the opposite of what Paul was describing when he said he sought “to declare … the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). He did not adopt methods to suit the tastes of a worldly culture.
Paul had not thought of catering to a particular generation’s preferences, and he used no gimmicks as attention-getters.1