“Counteract the particular distortions of our present cultural context by refuting them biblically. That is to say that we must read the newspaper as well as the Scriptures. We should be people who know and understand our times, who discern the currents and tides beneath the surface of events and movements. We should be people who penetrate to the causes of the cultural malaise and expose them, rather than simply railing against the symptoms. If we do not take on the real pressure points of the culture in our preaching we shall not connect with our people. We shall end up preaching an abstracted discipleship, which has no cutting edge in reality. Why, for example, were eighty percent of the abortions in one of the southern states performed on women who are church members? This is where the gospel connects and so we must be courageous enough, and dependent enough upon God’s Spirit, to address these issues. It will requires the negatives of rebuke and correction as well as the soothing message of grace, forgiveness, and transformation. But remember the same Jesus who spoke those wonderful words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” continued immediately with a negative: “No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Pastoral preaching must seek above all to be faithful; it may not be popular.” (Fall 2008, 202)
Too many of our churches feature “abstracted discipleship” in which the pastoral burdens expressed are those found in Calvin’s or Hodge’s commentaries, thus relevant only to those members of our churches currently dealing with Victorian-era social problems. Not all pastors need to be cultural experts, but all pastors need to be culturally familiar, and to bring the gospel to bear on the unique challenges and vicissitudes of life in their environment.
Do not preach an abstract Christianity; preach a particularized, powerful, personally applicable one that engages your hearers, reaches their hearts, and addresses their needs, desires, and sins.