As published in the Chicago Sun-Times. Reprinted with permission.

Century Marks

Real preaching: In a 1948 article, Catholic theologian Yves Congar noted two legitimate complaints to be made about sermons: First, preachers too seldom speak like persons with a spiritual life of their own who are living the things that they preach. Second, preachers don’t address the life situations of their congregants. Congar thought that “preachers should be showing [people] what it looks like to live this Christian teaching” (Worship, July).

True confessions: Michael Jinkins, dean of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, says that the pastor of a large evangelical church told him he had decided to do away with a corporate confession in worship services. It’s too much of a downer, the pastor explained. Jinkins asked him, “Isn’t it more of a downer for your people to leave worship without confessing their sins and hearing the assurance of God’s pardon?” (Cultural Encounters, Winter).

 

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