I was reading through one of my homiletics books this morning and came upon a sample sermon outline:
Really, the Bible can be made to say almost anything you want it to say. The critical question is this: Are you saying what the Bible wanted to say? For example, I heard a fine message on Luke 19:29-40 offer the following truths:
Jesus and the Donkey
- You are like the donkey (vv. 29-30)
- You are tied to someone other than the owner to whom you really belong (v. 30a)
- You are still young–no one has sat on you (v. 30b)
- Jesus commands you to be set free (v. 30c)
- He sets you free through his disciples (vv. 31-32)
- There will be objections when you are being freed to serve Christ (v. 33)
- But he has need of you (v. 34)
- Are you Christ’s donkey? (vv. 35-40)
- Is he riding you?
- Are you bringing praise to him?
Can this sermon be preached? Is already has been! Is it textually faithful? No! Why? Ask this critical question: Are these points what the author intended to convey and what the original audience understood through this narrative?
Richard goes on to call this type of preaching moralistic, which, says Richard, presents several problems relating to the preacher:
- You do not really need Scripture to come up with such instruction.
- Every text becomes an illustration of a higher moral principle.
- Your preaching lacks textual authority.
- Such interpretation lacks objective controls.
- The central proposition of your sermon is not discernibly related to or derived from the central proposition of the text.