Must-See Sermons –

The Washington Post has a sad article about the depths to which evangelical pastors will go to be whatever relevant happens to mean at the moment. Throughout the summer the pastor of this AG church watched the top-grossing movie of the previous week and then preached his sermon based on that movie. He even dressed up like the characters, including Robert Downey Jr.’s blackface character in “Tropic Thunder” and Heath Ledger’s Joker in “Dark Knight.” He prayed for insight to get a biblical message out of each movie.

I admit I couldn’t help but laugh at congregant Nikkisha Walker’s comment; so apropos:

“Some of the movies, I’ve been like, ‘How is he going to preach on this, because it has nothing to do with God?’ ” said Nikkisha Walker, 17. “But he always manages to find something.”

To be a good blogger I tried to check this pastor out so I wasn’t misrepresenting him. I watched more clips online at his site; I read his comments carefully (and I note that he urged his people not to see “Tropic Thunder”). I stand by what my criticism, but even if I’m wrong I find it interesting that the Post picked up the same narrative I did, except where they say “nontraditional” I say “worldly.”

Researchers say more and more churches are trying nontraditional ways of attracting congregants, with some holding services in bars, on hiking trails or online. Creative services can provide an edge in a tight “religious marketplace,” said David Roozen, director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research in Connecticut.

“There’s a lot of experimentation going on in worship these days,” Roozen said.

It’s about seeming relevant and standing out in the crowd.

“How are we different from the church down the street? Well, you have to bring your 3-D glasses when you come to our church,” Roozen said.

Leaving aside Romans 12:1-2 for now, let me mention instead Titus 2:7. A pastor’s teaching should show dignity.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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