Preach the Word – November/December 2011

Volume 15, Number 2

Key Issue #7: Proclaiming the Gospel to a Storied Postmodern Culture

Seeing opportunities and overcoming barriers so the Word can be heard by those affected by the culture around us.

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As a companion to the November/December 2011 issue of Preach the Word, we offer these resources for further study by individuals, study groups, or circuits

Book Reviews

Some Examples of Sermons that would appeal to Post modern Listeners

Most of us have had the experience of learning homiletical principles in the classroom, only to be frustrated when we try to put them into practice. Creating sermons that engage post modern listeners can pose an even greater challenge because it means we may have to change both our cultural perspective and how we communicate God’s Word. We wonder, “What does such a sermon look like?”

This month Proclaim Grace! offers four noteworthy examples of WELS pastors, who have incorporated many of the principles discussed in the November/December issue of Preach the Word into their preaching and agreed to let us post examples of their work. Each sermon includes an audio file or video link, a copy of the sermon manuscript, and a sermon manuscript that highlights exactly what aspects of the sermon would resound with the post modern mind and some ideas for possible improvements.

Sermon by Pastor Jon D. Buchholz
Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tempe, Arizona
Text: James 1:2-8,12
Pentecost 12 – September 4, 2011

Sermon by Pastor Gary Kluball
King of Kings Evangelical Lutheran Church, Clifton Park, New York
Text: Luke 20:9-19
Lent 5 – March 21, 2010

Sermon by Pastor Jeffrey A. Bonack
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Muskego, Wisconsin
Text: Matthew 18:21-35
Pentecost 17 – July 10, 2011

Sermon by Pastor Curt Backhaus
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Tomah, Wisconsin
Text: John 15:11-16
Easter 6 – May 28, 2011

Proclaiming the Gospel to a Storied Postmodern Culture: Proclaim Grace! Key Issue #7

As witnesses of Jesus Christ we seek to make his timeless gospel relevant to people of every age. The challenge of course is that every age presents a new set of obstacles (and opportunities) for proclaiming the gospel. Our listeners live in an increasingly postmodern culture that challenges many of our assumptions about truth, authority, and valid communication. How will we respond? What can we learn from our culture so that the gospel has an opportunity to be heard?

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Confronting Moral Relativism

One of the underlying assumptions of postmodernism is that all morality is subjective. But instead of simply dismissing this worldview out-of-hand, we would do better to show our listeners the lie of Satan at work beneath the surface so that the Holy Spirit can convict their consciences and convince them of the truth of God’s amazing love.

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Maximizing the Culture’s Love of Story

One of the deficiencies of the postmodern worldview is that it is starved for meaning. In a world where nothing means anything people long to fill this hole in their existence. “Stories” are one means of filing this gap because stories can connect to the subjective reality of their lives and carry them along. What better story can we tell them, than the story that plays itself out again and again in Scripture in a thousand different ways? The story of man’s sin and God’s amazing rescue plan.

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Dealing with Growing Biblical Illiteracy

The problem of biblical illiteracy is a consequence of both modernism and post-modernism. Modernism denies Scripture’s validity and postmodernism questions its relevancy. More and more we dare not take for granted that our hearers know even the most essential and familiar narratives of Scripture. This article gives several practical suggestions on how our preaching can counteract this trend in our culture.

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