Sunday, April 11, 2010

Richard Miller on 1 John 1:1-3

1 John 1:1-3 Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called God’s children! For this reason, the world does not understand us, because it did not understand him. Beloved, we are already God’s children, but what we will be is not yet revealed. But when he is revealed, we know that we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is! Everyone who has this hope set on him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

This morning I attended Dutton United Reformed Church in Caledonia, MI. The Pastor preaching this morning was Rev. Richard Miller and his text was 1 John 1:1-3. I thought it might be interesting to do a sermon review. I don't have the text of the sermon in front of me but I have a pretty good recollection of it. Lately, I've become convinced that the Epistles do not usually function very well as sermon texts. The Epistles seem to be sermons themselves that were distributed to be read as such to the various churches and so the pastor ends up preaching a sermon on a sermon which can be problematic. But I will ignore the choice of text for the sermon review and use the same criteria that I used in previous reviews.

1. Does the pastor explain the text correctly? Not really. The pastor's main point was that John is excited and so you should be excited too and if you're not excited you might not be a child of God. The last sermon I heard by this pastor had the very same point--if you're not excited you might not be a "real" Christian. The pastor has taken a text that objectively declares "you are a child of God, and look at what you have to look forward to" and turned it into "maybe you're not really a child of God after all because you're not excited enough." The passage is intended to provide comfort for those who are suffering persecution but instead it is used pietisticly to either drive people to despair for not being excited enough or make them self-righteous and think how much more excited they are than other people. (0)

2. Is the law preached lawfully? No. The law is preached as doable and the unbiblical law of being excited is used to bind the consciences of the congregation. The law really didn't seem to be used to bring people to repentance at all. It was talked about as a guide for the believers life but I just don't see "Be Excited!" in the 10 commandments. This church reads the 10 commandments at a point in the liturgy that is intended to show the need for repentance but a short explanation was given afterward that only mentioned that the law is used to curb the sins of the unbeliever and be a guide for the believer's life. (-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? Not really. The sermon did briefly mention that our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus but it was mostly just about how we should be excited. (0)

5. Does the creation of a Wordle show a Christian focus in the sermon? Unfortunately I do not have the text of the sermon. If I had the text I suspect that it would receive a -1 since the sermon was not primarily about Jesus but about being excited. But since I do not have the text I will give it a 0. (0)

So the final score is 0 or 50%.

The current standings are:
William Cwirla (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) 100% A
Don Fortner (Calvinistic Baptist) 57.5% F
John Piper (Calvinistic Baptist) 35% F

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