I really appreciate Carl Trueman’s recent blog post regarding the “Jakes/MacDonald debacle.” As is so often the case, Trueman sees the bigger issue at play in an event making news in evangelicalism. So, even if you have no idea what the controversy is surrounding T.D. Jakes and James MacDonald, Trueman is worth reading for his analysis of the current state of the American pulpit.
Trueman helpfully observes how many “popular” pastors today are taking their cues from stand up comedians.
[T]hese performers have adopted the style of the American stand up comic. The swaggering up and down; the conversational banter; the faux outrage; the mocking cynicism about anybody who might value decency and order as traditionally conceived; the studiedly slovenly dress style; the portentous pauses while waiting for a laugh; the ugly profanity; and, in some well-known cases, a preoccupation with talking about sex. All of this is, I am told, standard fare among the professionally controversial comics. And, of course, their audiences/congregations respond in similar kind, coming in on cue with mocking laughter; whistles; whoops and calls. This is not plain preaching as Perkins, Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones would have understood it.
I’m praying American Christians lose their taste for the stand up act and demand more “plain preaching” in the vein of Perkins, Spurgeon, and Lloyd-Jones. And I pray this way not because I can’t tell a joke. No, I pray this way because more than a comedian in the pulpit, people need a pastor.