Sunday, December 2, 2018

Gleanings 2) A squint

Baptist churches usually call their ministers after two preaches - first with a 'squint' and then (maybe) with a 'view'.  I had clean forgotten details about my squint  preach at my first church in Blackburn. The discerning church is supposed to learn much from this exercise -as does the minister!

My squint sermons on 17, Oct, 1971 were both evangelistic. First, John 10:7-21 focused on the crowd division after Jesus' Good Shepherd claims.( vs. 19, 20).  Mad, Bad or Good?  Second, John 3: 1-17 focused on Nicodemus asking 'How can this be" (verse 9).  I likened Nicodemus to a BBC commentator in a recent BBC documentary called The Jesus Trip. \It featured the unusual evangelist Arthur Blessitt who carried a cross and attracted crowds of ex-hippies.  At his Soul Clinic in Texas crowds of new disciples sang: 'You've got to be a baby...You've got to be a baby!  When the interviewer asked 'How?' this song was their reply. Not very sophisticated or satisfactory.

In John 3 Nicodemus is asking 'how' when Jesus says 'You've got to be a baby! Nicodemus finds this unsatisfactory and assumes the stance of sophisticated man: So, three points: 1) I'm not a baby is the response of 'conventional wisdom'.  I quoted J K Galbraith to make the point.  Nicodemus would like a debate.  2)'You've got to be a baby gives no scope for extended discussion.: Gavin Reid in The Gagging of God asked: 'Would discussion groups in place of the sermon imply that anybody's opinion is as good as God's?  While the church needs to be good at listening, and while it must be a welcoming community accepting those who will not dot every i' of biblical truth, it is not a debating society and the gospel is not up for discussion.  I concluded by challenging my hearers to say 3) I'm a baby..  You will never fully understand the mechanics of what God has done for you. You've got to be a baby. You can say 'Yes', or 'No' but not 'How' when you face Jesus.

Both these are a keen young man's sermons, aren't they? They reveal my love of John's gospel and of inductive sermon beginnings!  I sure wanted them to know that I was all about Jesus and us.  They met afterwards to consider me as potential minister.  Guess what happened?  .


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