Tuesday, June 30, 2009
iPreachers and the Podcast Pulpit
Today we can download Piper, Driscoll etc and spend our weeks listening to their sermons. My guess is that there are some (young/male) Christians who spend all week working through the archives of these guys, and then whole loads more who've never done that. I used to listen to quite a lot of their mp3s but I think I can probably count on one hand the number I've listened to this year. I still download sermons to aid my own sermon preparation, either to help with my exegesis, as a form of audio commentary, or to help with my communication skills by exposing me to different ways of preaching. I also download for more educational reasons from Theology Network, Bethinking etc, but a Sunday sermon is surely meant for something more. Something special goes on when God commissions this preacher to bring this word to this people on this occasion, Christ coming to his people in the power of the Spirit so that they can once again believe the gospel.
The temptation is to either blindly embrace the benefits of this new technology or be highly suspicious of it. My take on technology is that it's a good servant and a bad master. I blog, I like writing it but it's no big deal to me. I've tied my blog in with Twitter and Facebook to make it accessible to those who might want to read it, such technology makes life easier. On the positive side of new technology I can get access to gifted teachers who can help me to love Jesus more, just as in previous generations I could have read the sermons of a Spurgeon or a Lloyd-Jones alongside commentaries and other Christian books. On the negative side, it's easy enough to be a sermon junkie who is ever listening and never responding to the preached word. The technology simply makes such things available easily, and on balance that's probably good for the church (though there's inevitably more tosh out there than good stuff).
I've cut back because it's hard enough for me to really wrestle with Sunday's sermon from my own church, a word prepared and ordained for our local church at this time. It takes time to apply it with my wife and with our home group. It's very easy to get to next Sunday and realise that I never really took to heart last week's word let alone being ready to receive again. The other difficulty is that I might expect the preachers at our church to be Piper&co when God made them to be who they are for the good of our church. No harm in downloading some supplements but nothing can beat being in the room with God's people as the word is preached.