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Self-Disclosure That Glorifies Christ

Transparent preaching aims to reveal the light, not the window

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Observing college students and their reactions to various preachers has been an education for me. Students want to know if the preacher is a fellow struggler or someone who lives on a different planet.

They can quickly sense a "Bible bureaucrat" or someone speaking from a pedestal of perceived perfection, and their hearts shut down. But let them see the reality of a preacher's pilgrimage, and they willingly follow.

But self-disclosure is tricky. Some kinds of confessional preaching erode respect. If in any way self-disclosure lessens our congregation's confidence and respect, we should work on those issues privately. Indiscriminate revelation may diminish our greatest ministry, that of cutting a godly wake by the example of our lives.

Paul's counsel to Timothy helps chart the course for keeping our transparency constructive. In 1 Timothy 4:12, he urges Timothy to live a life that is an example. Paul is quick to indicate that he is not asking Timothy to live a perfect life, but rather that ...

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