Secular Sermons? – Yep, happens ALL the time…

photo credit: Xurble on flickr

I once heard Mark Driscoll say (can’t remember the message or context in which he said it),

Sermons are being preached all the time.

He went on to give a popular clothing slogan as an example… and showed how it connected directly to Genesis 3, and was actually the very sermon that the serpent preached to Eve.

That got me thinking about how right he is…

So… I’m starting a new blog category – “Secular Sermons” – and in each post give a quick example of a secular sermon, a brief outline of the sermon’s message – and why it’s “secular” instead of “Christian.”  My hope is that in the spirit of Romans 12:1-2 (quoted below) we’ll all learn to examine our culture a bit more carefully, and see how we can obey Jesus’ command through the Apostle Paul that we diligently renew our minds.

Hope you enjoy these… I know I will!

Rom 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

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4 thoughts on “Secular Sermons? – Yep, happens ALL the time…

  1. Well. The sermon I heard on Easter had a clip from The Lorax, and lyrics from a song in the production Wicked (you’ve changed me for good). Not sure how these connected with Jesus resurrection, I haven’t seen the movie or the play, but I was wondering why it wasn’t good enough to just preach Christ. Do you think I’m being harsh?

    • Hi Saraspondence… and thanks for the question. Hmmmmm… I’d not thought of THAT sort of thing when I wrote the post. But you bring up a good issue for consideration. Honestly, I’ve used movie clips, song lyrics, etc. at times as I’ve preached – to try to help the audience (as secular as they may or may not be) connect with truth through means with which they may be more familiar. I understand the approach… and see how Paul himself did it in Acts 17:23. There’s nothing wrong with a good illustration – Jesus talked about sheep, vines, salt, light, brides, grooms, etc. to make His points more clear. No problem with the concept at all.

      However, (you knew it was coming, didn’t you?) I think preachers have to be very careful about WHY they use media. Are they being utilized simply because it is “trendy” or “cool?” (too much fear of man possibly) Are they being used in a way that makes the preacher look cool-er, ’cause he’s such a hip guy as to have seen THAT movie? (ego/pride issues there) Are they being used to beautify the gospel and the scriptures, or as just another source of truth? Those and more are hard questions that need to be asked in sermon prep time.

      For me, I’ve stopped using media clips to a large degree (not entirely, mind you) for many reasons. 1) I don’t want to possibly communicate advocacy for movies that are potentially questionable, so that I don’t cause someone else to “stumble.” I don’t remember the full content of everything I’ve seen, so I could easily use a clip from a movie that contains a bad scene elsewhere (not in my clip). If I do, someone who found that clip objectionable may be sitting in the congregation the morning I show the clip, is not thinking about the meaning or purpose of the clip, they are thinking about the terrible scene in THAT movie… and that the Pastor has seen it! That could be detrimental to their growth, not helpful toward it. 2) I don’t want to communicate that I’m so “in” to culture as to always need a movie clip to make my point. This world culture is hostile to the Savior, and I don’t want to buddy-up with it too much. That doesn’t means we can’t “redeem the time” – just that we have to be wise about how we do it. 3) I don’t want to encourage the “entertainment mentality” of our culture, especially in church. I’d like to wean people from that, not encourage it. 4) More importantly, I’ve grown in my conviction that the gospel of Jesus Christ is enough. IT is the power of God, for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). I don’t want to depend on human craftiness or smarts or creativity, I want to depend on the Spirit of God. I just know that for me, using clips, etc. can make me less reliant on Jesus’ Spirit to do the work.

      So, are you being harsh? Maybe… but it doesn’t seem that way to me. It sounds like you love Jesus and want to see Him exalted. It sounds like you love the gospel and want to see IT win the hearts of lost people. I think you’re being discerning, and asking some very good questions.

      Thanks for taking the time to ask the question, and for the opportunity to tell a bit of my “story.” Blessings!

  2. Thank you for a very thoughtful response. Especially since I took you off topic. (Sorry!)

    I am aware that there are people for whom a bridge must be built. Just not sure where I should go or what I need to do differently either in action or attitude as I seek to grow my knowledge, my discipleship, and my service in deeper and more meaningful ways…

    • Hi again saraspondence!

      Most churches that aim the Sunday service at “seekers” (not sure that’s what yours does, but it sounds like it could) have other opportunities throughout the week where the kind of growth you’re seeking can be found (small groups, etc.). You might check out those kinds of things. However, if it seems that the church is only about seekers, you may be sitting under an imbalanced ministry (a possibility, I don’t know your church, so you’d have to make that call). It sounds like you are a self-starter, so you may be able to start a Bible study or group that could serve you and others along those lines too!

      Blessings!

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