Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Overly Intellectual

Mark 12:37 “the common people heard Him (Jesus) gladly”

Have you ever noticed that some circles in Christianity are overly intellectual in their worship, their practice of Christianity, and view of church life? Have you ever sat in a church service listening to a preacher and not understood a thing he said? These guys speak in a “unknown tongue” each week and people leave empty. It’s as dry as chips.
  • This may explain why such congregations are usually very small – regular folk cannot understand what’s being said. It is simply out of touch with real people in the real world who need a CLEAR Word from the Lord.

  • This explains why such pastors often get into controversies (over minor details of doctrine) that are not really as important when seen from a bigger perspective… such as fulfilling the Great Commission.

  • And some of these overly intellectual types will sometimes expect their congregants to give their allegiance to a confession, overlooking the fact that this is not the same as allegiance to God or a love for others.

When Jesus taught He spoke in terms that normal people could understand. He didn’t use technical or theological jargon. He taught profound truths in simple ways. Yet, many pastors do the exact opposite; they teach simple truths in ways hard to understand. They take straightforward texts and make them complicated. They think they are being “deep” when actually they are turning the water muddy. It is more important to be clear than clever when teaching God's Word.

In contrast, crowds loved to listen to Jesus teach. Mark 12:37 says, “the common people heard Him gladly” (or with enjoyment). Jesus was the greatest communicator who ever lived and the Bible plainly tells us that people were SPELLBOUND by His teachings.

Some of the greatest compliments I ever receive are when people say to me, “I understood what you were saying…. I get it now…. I learned something today… I’ve never seen that before.” If a sixteen year old student, a single mother with a baby on her hip, educated school teachers, a lawyer, and a doctor (all in the PCC family) are saying that to me, then I know I’m doing my job effectively. I made a decision many years ago about my preaching/teaching style - I decided that it is more important for me to influence people than it is to impress them (with my vocabulary).

The next time you encounter one of these overly intellectual types who is muddying the water, just remember this - there's nothing wrong with you... there's something wrong with the commuicator. He's just using an insiders code language of pontification that lets you know you’re not in the club.

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