Honor your heroes with 24 Memorial Day Quotes for Preaching.
Preaching Articles

Eugene Peterson suggests preaching is an imprecise instrument, and that's exactly how it should be.

Eugene Peterson was for many years James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. A prolific author, he is probably most well known for The Message, his translation of the Bible in the language of today. Now retired from full-time teaching, Eugene and his wife Jan live in the Big Sky Country of rural Montana.

Browse All

Related Preaching Articles

Talk about it...

David Buffaloe

commented on Jul 21, 2012

Interesting perspective

Steve Shepherd

commented on Jul 21, 2012

Strange. God has always told His people what to do and how to live. Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only.

Keith B

commented on Jul 21, 2012

I was ready to criticize based on the title. But he's right. The Bible is not just a set of commands for us to follow, and preaching is not just giving marching orders. We can't keep spoon feeding our people and expect them to grow. Yes....explain the text and give some application....but challenge them to do some application on their own. That's how people grow.

Raymond Mitchell

commented on Jul 21, 2012

Grace no doubt allows for a breadth of freedom--and perhaps ambiguity, with respect to various decisions to made within living out the Christian life. Yet it also seems to me that there are certain areas that God has clearly made known His will to man. The Gospel message is not ambiguous. When the jailer asked Paul what to do to be saved, his answer was not "figure it out for yourself." He clearly spoke the truth. I think that while we as pastors need to give freedom for people to make application to their lives once the truth of the Scriptures is explained, we must also be clear concerning the directives that the Scriptures give. To do less than this is to ignore the perspicuity of the Scriptures and their authoritative nature.

David Parks

commented on Jul 21, 2012

After listening to his comments I don't understand what we are supposed to do instead. ;)

Prescott Jay Erwin

commented on Jul 21, 2012

I find the opposite to more prevalent: "Preacher, don't tell me what to do!"

David Ladines

commented on Jul 21, 2012

Amen! The church needs leadership that will help them, perhaps challenge them to move beyond elementary teachings (Hebrews 6:1) and on to a maturity in Christ and a life led by the Spirit. As pastors we sometimes allow ourselves to be put on pedestals as the "primary authority" for teaching scripture and applying it's meaning to each individual life in the congregation. What an impossible and impracticle responsibility that would be. If individual believers were fully equipped for works of service by pastors, teachers, prophets, evangelists and apostles - and empowered by the Holy Spirit - our churches would look more like the biblical reality in which, "all the powers of hell will not conquer it." I agree in part with Raymond's comments, "He clearly spoke the truth..." However, is it not the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us into all Truth? I am encouraged when, through preaching of the Word, the heart of a believer is touched through the Holy spirit's leading and then their ears are open to hear His voice and accomplish His will for their lives... on this earth, even as it is in heaven!

Ginette Marie Dun-Robin C

commented on Jul 22, 2012

Great Persception! "if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all generously," (James 1:5). When you point your finger, be very very careful, since three point back!

Guy Gustafson

commented on Jul 22, 2012

More mish-mosh to fill the pews with people who want to do what they want. When a group of Jews asked Peter "What to do"? in Acts 2:37-38, Peter told them clearly to "repent and be baptized". No ambiguity there! To not preach the truth, leaves the door open for homosexuality, adultry and lesbian "ministers" to enter the church because the world says it's OK and the church knows no difference!

Kobus Storm

commented on Jul 23, 2012

Awesome. I have changed my preaching/sharing after 20 years of "How to.." sermons into conversational sharing, part sharing and part conversations with a body of people and the results is truly life changing. Partly because I realized God tells them anyway and who knows best where they are than Him and partly I am not God and myself struggle with life. I have more control to influence on others that I ever had with my how to sermons because the Spirit is working among them as He share through me. Love it...

Stan Roam

commented on Jul 23, 2012

I think the scripture has both direction and ambiguity. There are very clear issues that we must addressed and immediately changed in scripture, and things that are open for personal growth and holiness. For instance, immorality is never to be accepted. Yet how one dresses (modesty), attends church (how often not forsaking is not completely clear), and when and where one witnesses leave those to the Holy Spirit to lead and guide (within reason). All these things are beneficial if we did them often, but the bible is more about having a true relationship with a Father in heaven, than whether we tow all the commandments as some may deliver their opinion of the gospel.

John E Miller

commented on Jul 24, 2012

Mr Peterson's article is certainly ambiguous. I do not find ambiguity in the teaching of scripture, particularly the New Testament. John's Gospel, perhaps the last book of the Bible written, was written by a very old man. His view of Christianity was definitely black and white. When we lose the certainty of the teaching of scripture, the God-breathed word, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, we have lost a most precious thing. The holiness of God is absolute. The word is, "Be ye holy as I am holy." No ambiguity there!

Keith B

commented on Jul 24, 2012

I think the point is that we want our people to be seeking God--not just following a set of marching orders put forth by the guy in the pulpit. That's the difference between a mature Christian and a baby Christian. Yes, we must certainly do some application in our preaching...but sometimes what one person calls preaching is just moralizing.

Joy Starr - Cross

commented on Jul 25, 2012

Joy Cross suggests that both perspectives apply!

Joy Starr - Cross

commented on Jul 25, 2012

Joy Cross suggests that both perspectives apply!

Joy Starr - Cross

commented on Jul 25, 2012

Joy Cross suggests that both perspectives apply!

Tyrone Green

commented on Jul 26, 2012

To me his message sounds like someone who is not believing the Bible. The word God is clear, Paul made is crystal clear. We need to stand on the word of God with assurance not ambiguity.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jul 29, 2012

Second Peter 3:16b--"There are some things in [Paul's letters] that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.". It's interesting that the apostle Peter had a tougher time understanding Paul than some of the posters on here. Too bad he didn't have some of the people here to explain Paul to him!

Join the discussion