Preaching health, health when there is no health

I was listening to a sermon podcast today. The preacher used an illustration to make a point about preaching with moral courage.

He described the cancer doctor who — fearful of upsetting his patient — told him time and again that he was fine and should not worry about the pains and soreness he was feeling. It is nothing, the doctor said. It will go away on its own.

Of course, the patient died. The soothing words of the doctor had no effect on the cancer.

The illustration is pretty clear in its application for preachers of the gospel.

It drives home a qualm that often troubles me. So much of what we do in the church only makes sense if their is no cancer.

But there is.

We are all under sentence of death. We need a radical cure, and sooner rather than later.

But would you know that by listening to my preaching? Would you know that by looking at my life?


3 thoughts on “Preaching health, health when there is no health

  1. yes, i see the point – we simply don’t take the time today to tell it straight because it may hurt. my church is having serious financial challeges and no one wants to confront the topic – i wrote to the pastor and in a long letter suggested if the congregation didn’t wish to support the mission there would be no mission – he thought my concern was well worth repeating and published it in the newsletter – obviously no one has read it or they simply don’t wish to hear the FACTS stated w/o sugar coating – so sad, I ask our Lord for His will on the future.

  2. John,
    it’s not at all clear to me what you are implying by this post.
    Are you positing that preachers don’t tell people they’re going to die or that they have the disease of sin because they just don’t want to upset people?

    What do you mean by “so much of what we do in the church only make sense if there is no cancer?”
    post is too short…please elaborate.

    1. The post grows out of the temptation I feel to ignore the reality of sin because calling attention to it is uncomfortable. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only preacher who feels this, so, yes, I do think we preachers soft pedal things.

      I had someone tell me about a sermon they heard on Nov. 23 about the great sheep and goats passage in Matthew 25. The preacher told the congregation that sometimes we are sheep and sometimes we are goats. We all have some sheep in us and some goat in us, and we should do our best to live like sheep.

      This does not strike me as the point Jesus was trying to make in that text, but I understand the desire to cast it that way.

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