Is the sermon about Jesus?

I often listen to Todd Wilken on the Issues, Etc. radio show. He evaluates sermons of various preachers and he has three “rules” that he uses. Below I am going to put them in my own words.

They are:
1. Is Jesus mentioned in the sermon and how much?
2. If Jesus is mentioned, is He the subject of the verbs or is He the object of the verbs? In other words, is the sermon about what Jesus has done for you or what you will do (have done) for Jesus.
3. If Jesus is the subject, what are those verbs and what is the preacher telling you about what Jesus will do or has done, etc.

This is a very interesting approach and I think if this is applied to many sermons in the modern day evangelical churches they’d come away with a failing grade. I have listened to some sermons using this mentality and it really shows whether the sermon is about Jesus or about the preacher. This really makes some sermons tough to listen to.

Wilken’s latest critique is on Billy Graham’s recent sermon. Interesting.

In Him,

in Gospel,Sermons,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 H. C. July 1, 2005 at 6:23 pm

May be an interesting test, but it’s problematic at best. For example, how would Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God do?

2 johnMark July 1, 2005 at 6:52 pm

Good question. Sinners… brings God to the forefront and talks about what He has done. Example, this quote That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God’s appointed time is not come. or “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” Without going through the whole sermon and picking it apart, I’d say the whole focus is on God’s sovereignty over the sinner who must turn to Christ for salvation.

You have a point, maybe Edwards’ sermon wouldn’t fit exactly in Wilken’s test depending on how this test is understood. I think Sinners… is all about God. Very God centered which, I believe, is the main point that Wilken is making. I could be wrong though. It would also help if you actually listened to Wilken use this on a sermon such as Graham’s, for example.

Good points.


Previous post:

Next post: