Friday, October 9, 2009

Chuck Smith on Mark 9:30-37

Chuck is pastor of Calvary Chapel. Calvary Chapel claims to be a "non-denominational church movement." From my understanding it functions as a denomination but that is irrelevant to this review. Calvary Chapel sermons are generally verse-by-verse expositions of the Scripture and this sermon is no exception. This sermon actually covers Mark 8-9 but I will be focusing on Mark 9:30-37. The sermon does not have a main idea that is carried through from beginning to end but is set up more like a commentary so I don't think the evaluation is impaired in any way by focusing on this particular section of the sermon. There is also an outline provided of Mark 9:33-36. It is not a word-for-word transcription of what is said in the sermon but it is followed pretty closely.

1. Does the pastor explain the text correctly? Chuck Smith sticks much closer to the text than either Markquart or Cantalamessa do. He's clearly trying to explain what the text actually says rather than just use the text as an excuse to talk about what he really wanted to talk about in the first place. A lot of what Chuck Smith says is true but he misses the point. Jesus was not JUST talking about turning from a life of ambition to a life of humble service. Jesus is not just redirecting them but showing them that the very act of asking the question showed that they had no understanding of the kingdom of God. Jesus had just told them about his upcoming crucifixion. As servant, Jesus was giving His life for the sheep. Jesus was calling on the disciples to die with Him. After the resurrection, all but John ended up giving up their lives in martyrdom as servants of the sheep. Jesus then brings a little child as an example. In Luke 18 Jesus has infants brought to Him and says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. The point is that infants and children are passive recipients. Infants do not do anything for themselves but have everything that they need given to them. Infants trust that all that they need will come from their parents and Jesus calls us live our lives trusting in God to provide us with what we need rather than jockeying for position or thinking that we have attained some higher level than the next guy. Because Chuck Smith does stay close to the text I don't want to give him a -1 but will instead give him a 0. (0)

2. Is the law preached lawfully? No. The law is preached as something can be accomplished. Chuck Smith prefers to use the law only as principles for living and says that God overlooks are mistakes. He says that we sometimes do the things that the disciples were doing in the passage but a person could easily walk away from the sermon thinking that they have not done anything like that recently. (-1)

3. Is Jesus mentioned? Yes, Jesus is mentioned and nothing false is said about him. (+1)

4. Is the sermon about what Jesus has done for us? No. Chuck Smith spends the bulk of his time talking about principles that he finds in the text and not about what Jesus has done for us. Without stern proclamation of the law it is difficult for anyone to have a sermon about what Jesus has done for us. (-1)

5. Does the creation of a Wordle show a Christian focus in the sermon? I am actually using the outline mentioned above to create the Wordle rather than the text itself but I don't think the results would be much different if the actual sermon were used. "Greatness" is the focus but "Jesus" does come up right behind so I'll give it a 0.5. (0.5)

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So the final result is -0.5 or 45%.

So far we have:

Chuck Smith (Calvary Chapel) 45% F

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