Excerpts From A Dissertation No One Ever Read: Four Terrible Excuses To Avoid Doctrinal Preaching

Sound doctrine is gravely important for the church.  The apostle Paul wrote,

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. . . . For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Tim. 2:15; 4:3-4).

Paul’s admonition to his protégée in ministry remains applicable for the twenty-first century preacher as well.  Paul seemed to peer through the corridor of time and see doctrinal decline in the church.  Doctrine is important for the church, yet it is often absent from the pulpit.

4 Terrible Reasons To Avoid Preaching Doctrine

  1. Doctrine isn’t practical. In the search for relevance many pastors lose the focus on doctrine in preaching, hoping to deliver messages they feel to be more practical.  They fear doctrinal sermons are too boring for their listeners.
  2. Doctrine is boring. Some preachers attempt to engage post-modern culture by intentionally avoiding doctrine in their weekly messages.
  3. Doctrine is divisive. Other pastors forsake doctrine, seeking to entertain their audience and remain popular.  These pastors see doctrinal preaching as too controversial for their churches.
  4. Doctrine is exhausting. Many pastors forego doctrinal preaching because the hermeneutical work is taxing and time consuming.

A wise pastor I know has often said, “Any excuse will do when you’re looking for one.” Despite the reasons for sparseness, pastors should not shy away from preaching deep theological truths found in God’s Word.

Doctrinal preaching is not, nor should it ever be, simply the collection and distribution of biblical information.  What one knows and thinks about God greatly impacts his worldview. Doctrine influences understanding, attitude, choice, and action. If doctrine is anything, it is practical. It is emotive. Doctrine impacts life.  Sound theology is important for the people of God. Speaking of the absence of doctrine, Al Mohler wrote:

One of the most lamentable developments of the last several centuries has been theology’s transformation into an academic discipline more associated with the university than the church. – R. Albert Mohler, He Is Not Silent (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2008), 105.

The people of God need sound biblical theology. Let us be faithful in feeding the people of God.