Jesus Christ Preaching Theology

Letter from Australia 84 – Christ is Glorious! Preaching from Sydney

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I don’t have a long letter for you this week – just a sermon.  I preached this at St Thomas’s last week and I got a surprising amount of reactions – from those who were helped,  to those who were unhappy.  I’m actually quite confused about it.  I think most of it has to do with style – but there are some other underlying issues which I need to reflect on. Have a listen for yourself – it is a great passage.  I hope it causes you to reflect more on the beauty of Christ rather than the preacher!

I have been reflecting on my preaching over the past wee while.  I’m not over happy because I know there is much that is not great about my preaching,  but I’m not sure there is much I do about the style – it’s just the way I do it.  For me I preach to myself first, then I think about how to apply that to the people who are there.  I am particularly concerned for those who are not yet Christians and those who are struggling.  Anyway I will reflect some more before I write anything more on preaching.  I do miss preaching to the same people every week – but I also thank the Lord for the variety of faithful preachers…Now I’m off to listen to someone better – my son!

See you next week,

David

Here are a couple of other reflections on the same subject:

Persuasive Preaching

The Importance of Preaching in a Post-Covid World – AP

Letter from Australia 83 – Am I Right Wing?

18 comments

  1. “… but I’m not sure there is much I do about the style – it’s just the way I do it. ”

    Yes, I think just be yourself and don’t try to overanalyse, Pastor, or you will become too self-conscious and make mistakes. I personally think your preaching is fine. It is has been very helpful to me.

    As for your Tweet:

    “David Robertson @theweeflea

    The headline news in Australia’s ABC is an interview with an American celebrity from a couple of privileged, hypocritical Royals from the UK. Can the ABC tell us why this is the main news in Australia? Is there nothing else going on in the world? Or even Australia?”

    Normally I’d agree if this was a normal story in our celebrity-obsessed age. I think this instance is an exception though because Harry and Meghan could potentially destabilise the monarchy by tarnishing its reputatiin like Harry’s mum tried to doin the Panorama interview back in the 1990s, and the Queen, after all, is our Head of State.

    That said, I haven’t heard the interview or seen any headlines yet, so I don’t know if Harry and Meghan say anything particularly damaging. I am in ignorant bliss at the moment. Anyway, I’ll give the ABC a pass this time.

    1. Okay, I watched Meghan and Harry. The most interesting bit was when Harry said felt there were bigger things at work towards the end (or words to that effect) “even though I am usually the last peson to believe in that sort of thing.” I wonder if he feels God is guiding his life or if he was alluding to Diana since he mentioned feeling her “presence” earlier in the interview?

      Leaving that aside, if Meghan and Harry’s story is largely true, then the Firm hasn’t really learnt any lessons or reformed itself at all following on from its mishandling of Diana in the 1990s. It bungled things then and seems to have bungled them again now.

    2. Anyway, I am very glad the Queen came out of it glowingly though Charles’ reputation has taken a large hit. Overall, Meghan was surprisingly restrained compared to Diana in the Panorama interview. She did air some dirty laundry in public but it could have been kuch much worse.

      Okay, it is past 11 pm now, so I’m heading off to bed.

      1. Thinking about it now, in the cold light of day, I am a lot less impressed by Harry and Meghan. I don’t like it when people air their dirty linen in public and, guided by a higher power or not, the way Harry refused to honour his father and attacked Charles in public is disgraceful, no matter who is at fault and who said what. Charles is normally such a mild , meek man, I suspect he was giving Harry time and space to come to his senses, but who really knows?

        Also, I don’t like the way race was brought into it by Meghan. It seems like an excuse or a crutch. I don’t doubt some elements of the establishment are very snobbish, change-resistant and maybe even prejudiced against Meghan but she seemed to be using race as her wildcard in the interview to provoke Americans’ sympathy.

        One other thing that struck me is, if there is an informal agreement between the royals and the tabloids for good media coverage as Meghan said, why did the tabloids suddenly turn in Meghan? Either there is truth to the allegations and Mehhan has upset a lot of people, or the Firm has thrown her to the wolves as a sacrificial lamb and told the media you can pick on her as long as you leave the rest of us alone.

        Anyway, I shouldn’t judge and I’ve done far too much of that already.

        I just hope things turn out for the best for them and if there are major problems in the establishment in the way they welcome newcomers and if they fail tk train and support them adequately, I hope lessons are learnt and issues are addressed. It has been hinted in the past that Charles and William want to be reforming kings who will downsize the monarchy, informalise protocols and modernise to make the family more like mainland European and Scandinavian royals. If they act on this pledge, it will probably be a good thing.

      2. Oops, I just saw you tweeted an article you wrote on this very subject.

        To take the points you wrote in it, as I said above, the main reason I watched it was to see if they would make any explosive claims that would damage the monarchy or tarnish the monarch’s image. As a subject of Her Maj., I think it that is important. Thankfully, she came out of it unscathed but they did undermine the heir apparent and Prince William.

        “If you buy into the hype, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, then you are aiding and abetting the manipulation and the farcical charade that masquerades as some kind of important news.”

        Largely agree but I think it is important for the readon I stated above, much more so than if any other celebs from, say, Hollywood were having a family feud. That I definitely wouldn’t watch.

        “The main reasons for the interview, alongside fame, revenge and therapy, is of course money. ”

        Oprah and Meghan said at the start the couple weren’t bring paid for the interview. Even if that is the case, though of course, the network will receive millions and it will help keep up the couple’s profile for later work, endorsements and other money-making ventures.

        “We are regressing to a society where people treat one another like dirt. They gossip, blame, abuse and dish the dirt. ”

        Totally agree although the precedent was set by Diana, so this has been going on since at least the 1990s (I am trying to think of earlier examples of family feuds playing out in the media but my mind is blank at the moment).

        “By morality I mean the basic moral truths – love, justice, truth. None of that will be served by a self-serving, carefully stage-managed publicity stunt.”

        Meghan claims The Firm stifled her from telling the truth so she is using this interview to set the record straight. Supposedly she didn’t know the questions beforehand so it wasn’t fully stage-managed. (I am not disputing with you, Pastor; I am just playing the devil’s advocate here by telling you what they claimed since you haven’t seen it.)

        “Did Christians go to the Colosseum just to see what the fuss was about? When two people started fighting at school it always drew a crowd. I suspect if that were not the case there would have been a lot less fighting. This is a form of celebrity pornography. Why should I join in the voyeurism?”

        Good, challenging questions for us, Pastor! Thanks.

        “Even if you are naïve enough to believe that this has nothing to do with money and exploiting fame and privilege, what is the point of this interview? TV therapy? Why proclaim that you just want to be left alone and kept out of the press eye – and then hold a ‘tell all’ very public media circus?”

        Supposedly to set the record straight and because they find the US press less toxic than the UK tabloid culture and because they can now speak freely and “be themselves”.

        “Meghan will play the race card, tell us how hard done by she is, and how she contemplates suicide. She will offer some salacious piece of gossip that some member of the royal family is supposed to have said. ”

        Yep! The suicide bit is weird. She says she doesn’t read any of the media headlines about her (she hadn’t even heard the term “Megxit” until Oprah told her about it) but the media still drove her to contemplate suicide based on her friends saying that they are printing terribke things about you but not telling her what those things were. evertheless, she did feel like she was in a gilded cage but arguably that is what she knew she was marrying into.

        “Harry will come in as the dutiful husband and let us all know that his Nazi uniform wearing days are all over and that he has more than made atonement for his privileged past. ”

        Not mentioned at all. Oprah was a soft interviewer. I thought she might be starting gentle to prepare to move in fir the kill but that never happens. Shr doesn’t cross-examine or ask difficult questions. She just lets them tell their side of the story and takes it at face value.

        “Of course, I could be wrong. It could be that Meghan and Harry will confess their privilege, admit they’re wrong, seek reconciliation, announce their retirement from public life so that they can focus on bringing up their family away from the glare of publicity;”

        Nope. 😉

      3. I’ll add a few more pints.

        Actually come to think of it, the Nazi uniform part is interesting: why did someone as woke and sensitive to racism as Meghan fall for a guy with that in his past? You’d think, Prince or not, she wouldn’t look twice at him.

        Prrepared answers or not, the interview was stage-managed in the sense that it was interspersed with lots of family shots of Harry, Meghan and Archie feeding the chickens in their coup, giving Oprah acarton of half a dozen eggs, (which she holds very visibly for the cameras) and walking along the beach in thrir new freedom. See, they are regular folks, just like us! 😛

        With regard to gossip about who made the “racist” comments, Meghan and Harry refrain from naming names. That might be a good thjng and show that they are not intent in naming names or slurring individuals but it also serves to cast a shadow over the whole family as suspicion now rests on all of them – it is like the political scandal last week – until we knew Christian Porter was the accused, there were suspicions cast on a whole number of cabinet members mainly because social media users simply didn’t like this man or that man.

        Finally, Harry’s woke awakening came when he started to walk in Meghan’s shoes and see how bad racism was. He claims he was blind to it until then.

      4. “She did air some dirty laundry in public but it could have been kuch much worse.”

        Yes, that is the distasteful part to me and I remember it was something many of us reacted strongky too in that long discussion about the book by the Tasmanian writer, Philippa Moore. Speaking of whom, she was apparently spreading woke-ness on ABC Radio yesterday for International Women’s Day, along with the notorious Aboriginal activist, Michael Mansell (who was friends with Gaddafi and tried to gain backing from him for an Aboriginal Stare, no less):

        https://mobile.twitter.com/philippa_moore/status/1368848774819311618

        By the way, your preaching is fine. You’ve helped me a great deal.

        God bless.

      5. Further to my comment above about her radio interview, Philippa Moore retweeted this, implying enforsement of the “curfew for men” idea:

        “Philippa Moore Retweeted
        Georgia Ladbury WEP
        💚
        💜
        @GeorgiaLadbury
        ·
        Mar 9
        Women in my area have been advised ” not to go out alone” while Sarah Everard’s disappearance is investigated.

        How about we urge men not to go out instead? Say a curfew at nightfall?

        Perhaps we’d see more done about street safety if it were men losing their freedoms, not women.”

  2. Nothing wrong with your preaching, your sermon or your style, Keep on, please don’t disappear. You can only be yourself and we love who you are. God Bless.

  3. Listened to the first 20 minutes and didn’t hear or see anything I would take issue with. Don Carson when he preaches sounds like reading one of his (very good) books. But I can live with that…

  4. In the Catholic tradition there has been an emphasis on brevity in recent times. Should a normal sermon ever be longer than 10-12 minutes, and perhaps a lot shorter than that. What the bible has to say, is often very plain; and would a single verse, well presented, be better than a cocktail of verses and ideas? There’s and old quote: I did not have time to send you a short letter. Martin Lloyd Jones wrote of a need for intro-three points-conclusion. If someone of his brilliance felt the need for that, why do others often-‘lose the plot’-in the pulpit?

    1. As the old saying goes ‘sermonettes make Christianettes’! Lloyd Jones of course often spoke for 4-5 times your suggested limit. I would not look to the Catholic church for good preaching – although there have been and are some!

  5. If anyone didn’t enjoy the message or it’s deliverer then they do not know Jesus and are in the most need to listen again. Praise God that He gave you courage to speak the inconvenient truth. In doing so you are in suffering obedience to Christ for Christ. Amen

  6. David,
    I’ve listened to you (over the internet) eg on Romans at Dundee, heard you at Keswick Convention and now this.
    Just a quick impression: This is more evangelistic, and seems attempts to pack-in too much, to cover a lot of bases, perhaps too much and with too many illustrations.
    Perhaps, could it be suggested, that you listen to yourself at St Peter’s and see how it may differ.
    Perhaps you’ve put your finger on it, on the difference, when you say “I miss preaching to the same people every week.” It think there is a significant difference.
    Here, it is as if it was a “one-off” talk for a “one-off ” invitation. And you seemed a little nervous.
    It may be difficult to adopt a different style, say, between a podcast , and a sermon. Has there been an influence?
    What does your best critic, your wife, say?
    Hope you don’t mind.

    1. I don’t mind at all….any feedback is good. Yes it packs in too much – a bit like the passage!

      No – it is not more evangelistic than my usual. There is no difference with St Peter’s – I wasn’t happy with my preaching there either!

      Yes I was nervous – I always am.

      And it has nothing to do with the podcast – which is an entirely different thing – the podcast is not preaching the Word of God in a gathered congregation in a service of public worship. It’s political/social comment from a Christian perspective. If any of my sermons became that I would resign as a preacher!

      What my wife says is between me and her!

  7. I certainly wasn’t suggesting that you let any of us know your wife’s comments! Or that she be interviewed by Oprah.

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