October 13th, 2012| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Last week I was in ye olde city of New Orleans, LA, enjoying the collegiality and fellowship of like-minded folks at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). Our plenary sessions were held in NOBTS’ Leavell Chapel (pictured).

It was a great time, though your humble blogger (y.h.b.) didn’t particularly enjoy the seafood buffet served for dinner Friday night. I have never been a fan of frutti di mare. I have been told I used to be allergic to the stuff as a kid. No allergies now, but I still don’t care for beasts of the water, salty or otherwise. Gimme dead cow any day. But NOBTS wasn’t serving any of that. So I ate broccoli. And two slices of cheesecake to make up for the deprivation. That’ll keep me healthy—a nice balanced meal, in my opinion.

Anyhow these annual meetings of aforementioned society (of which y.h.b. has served as President in the past) bring together the evangelical species of teachers of preaching who serve time in various seminaries on the North American continent (as well as a cluster of pastors interested in all matters homiletical).

Our plenary speaker was Bryan Loritts, the African-American Lead Pastor of Fellowship Memphis, a multicultural church (primarily interracial: 60% white, 40% black. Appropriately our theme was “multicultural preaching,” which Loritts addressed with sensitivity, vulnerability, spirituality, and passion.

I have become all things to all men,
so that I may by all means save some.
1 Corinthians 9:22

God’s heart for missions and for the world is unquestionable. Gosh, even an entire psalm is dedicated to this!

God be gracious to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us.
That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
For You will judge the peoples with uprightness And guide the nations on the earth.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us.
God blesses us, That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.
Psalm 67:1–7

Of course, we preachers were focusing on how this imperative to “be all things to all” affected preaching. Seminar papers, informal discussions, workshops, etc., illuminated various facets of “multicultural preaching,” and the importance of sensitivity to the numerous “cultures” in our congregations: gender cultures, racial cultures, ethnic cultures, and the multitude of subcultures within those “cultures.”

So we, in New Orleans, were concerned primarily with how preaching would/should be impacted by the multicultural nature of churches today. God’s truth, inscripturated in his word is, of course, valid for all peoples in every era in every place. But it is the responsibility of preachers (and, indeed, of all who teach the Bible—parents, Sunday School teachers, Bible-study facilitators, parachurch leaders, etc.) to make sure these truths of Scripture are brought in applicable form to the hearts and lives of the different folks in our pews.

And as such application of God’s truth becomes life in us listeners, we will become more Christlike, thus glorifying God.

Let every kindred, every tribe, on this terrestrial ball
To Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all!

And one day …

O that, with yonder sacred throng, we at His feet may fall,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all!
Edward Perronet, 1779

“All things to all people ….”

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