5.17.2010

Blog Post #475,819,4572 on Ergun Caner

According to my very scientific and very methodological...methods, I estimate this to be the bajillionth post in the Christian blogosphere on none other than Ergun Caner.

(Photo Source)

For those of you out of the know about what in the world this post is about and who Ergun Caner is and why I am writing something about him, I direct you here and here. I recommend you check out both those links before getting too riled up.

Ok, onto the meat of this post. Today I read this post by Tom Chantry and decided to comment on a few things. (Oh and if you want a superb address on the deep significance of the Caner controversy - albeit slightly lengthy for the ADD generation of the information age - check Tom Chantry's thoughts out starting here.)

Now that you, the reader, is hopefully caught up on the entire shenanigans surrounding Ergun and the Christian bloggernauts, let me offer a quote from the above article (this post...too many links, I know) and then a brief word.
"First, the Caner scandal is no surprise. It has happened before, it was bound to happen again, and it will happen repeatedly until we reform the practice of preaching, stop talking so much about ourselves, chain ourselves to the text of Scripture, and pour out the pure milk of the Word week after week."
I have been riding a train of thought that has been traveling the tracks of this pithy thought for a while now it seems. If you are reading this and you know me, you probably know that I choose my words very carefully when I am speaking in any manner that is not merely joking around or having mindless fun. Perhaps it is this characteristic(?) of mine that lends me to think along the lines of Mr. Chantry.

Personally, I have heard Ergun Caner preach once in person, at the church (Northside) my mother, father, and sister attend. I believe he has preached at Northside two or three times. If I could summarize his times of preaching at Northside, I would say this: comedy show/recent events cultural commentary for around 15 minutes full of uproarious laughter, mention of a Scripture text, and then exposition of the text with personal stories, jokes, and edgy racial terms mixed in (with some jabs at Calvinism). Might I note: By hearing maybe 2 hours total of Caner preach, I cannot offer a comprehensive picture of his preaching, only a brief synopsis that my ears have collected.

In general, I will agree with Tom with the call to "reform the practice of preaching". I have had the chance to preach once and I summarize my thoughts as thus: take a text, explain it, apply it, and pray that God would move the affections of the congregation towards God and his truth. To be a little emotional, I cannot stand when professing preachers take the pulpit and give jokes, personal stories worthy of hearty "amens", and a constant barrage of cliche challenges and Christianese lingo.

If the word of God...
  • is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true ( Psalm 19:7-9 )
  • revives the soul, gives wisdom, makes us rejoice, enlightens the eyes, endures forever ( Psalm 19:7-9 )
  • warns us and gives us great reward ( Psalm 19:11 )
  • is more precious than gold and sweeter than honey ( Psalm 19:10 )
...why should preachers not give every ounce of energy they put into sermon preparation towards the mass and rich spreading of the benefits of the Word of God? (Oh, and by the way if you want a gazillion more reasons why the Bible is extremely powerful, check out the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 .)

Therefore, all who call them selves preachers and moreover all those who speak in the name of Christ, these should devote their energies to the exposition and application of the Word to their audience in all facets of life.

4 comments:

  1. Good thoughts, Trevor. I fear that many preachers start out with a love of the Bible and a desire to proclaim it. Then their seminary professors lean on them to illustrate more and more, and when they reach the church they find themselves striving for popularity. That is what I mean when I say that the whole culture of the Evangelical world pulls preachers away from the type of preaching we should practice. Yet if, as you say, we believe the Bible is powerful, should we not unleash it?

    Tom Ascol, who may not appreciate your inference that he posted an 8000 word blogpost to the net, linked to this Spurgeon quote from his twitter account today: "I defend the Bible the same way I defend a lion. I simply let it out of its cage."

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  2. Tom Chantry,

    I love that quote by Spurgeon.
    And I think I now have correctly identified my different Toms. :P

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  3. Never heard of the man but know his preaching style...Amen to simple exegesis.

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  4. By the grace of God, truth and an uncommon passion for that truth will draw people in. Look at John Piper or Matt Chandler. Neither of these men are attempting to be popular entertainers or tickle their congregations' ears. Indeed, if the Word were not true, their unapologetic delivery should have emptied their church's pews before now.

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