Over the years I’ve taught preaching in university courses and mentored a number of preaching apprentices and preachers-in-training. This series summarizes some of the most basic yet most useful preaching points I’ve emphasized in these settings.
I hope you’ll join the fantastic Jim Martin and me as we teach “Preaching That Connects” at Harding School of Theology (Memphis, TN) Feb. 28-Mar. 7, 2013. This D. Min. course promises to be practical and inspiring.
Preaching Point #14: One of a Kind Factor – Preaching will need to demonstrate the uniqueness of the Christian faith.
Many today assume most religions are the same. A widespread belief is that all faiths are essentially equal. The reason there can be no exclusive claim on religious truth is that all religions have the same truth. Each individual faith offers the same truth packaged in a way that reflects a different culture or tradition.
Yet this understanding of religion is patently false. In places like Colossians, Scripture is clear that there is something unique (and dare I say, superior) when we come to Jesus. Preaching must lift up Jesus in a loving yet prophetic way which demonstrates his uniqueness. Preaching must lead people to the realization that there truly is no one like the Lord.
There are two ways of approaching this. The first way is to examine Jesus’ uniqueness as a spiritual leader. In his book But Don’t All Religions Lead to God? Michael Greene explores three elements about Jesus’ spiritual leadership which make him special. These three elements can be found in varying degrees among other spiritual leaders. But they cannot found in anyone to the degree with which they are found in Jesus.[i] First, the influence of Jesus is special. Second, the teaching of Jesus is special. Third the character of Jesus is special.
Second, Green examines four credentials that make Jesus truly unique. These credentials can be found in no one but Jesus. First, Jesus’ incarnation- no other great spiritual teacher brings God to us in the flesh as Jesus does. Second, Jesus’ atonement – no other spiritual teacher deals radically with human wickedness like Jesus. Third, Jesus’ resurrection – no other spiritual leader has risen from the dead and unleashed the restorative power of God on earth as has Jesus. Fourth, Jesus’ indwelling Spirit – no other spiritual teacher offers to live within his followers.
How about you? How do you preach about the uniqueness of Jesus?