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Preachers Who Promise Too Much

An interview with Haddon Robinson on what people can count on God to do in their lives

Editor's note: When we look out on the congregation on Sunday morning, everything within us wants to tell hurting or needy people that God is soon going to make everything better. Sometimes that impulse to encourage can tempt us to preach what people wish the Bible would say. To understand how to avoid that, editor Brian Larson called trusted advisor Haddon Robinson, author of Biblical Preaching and homiletics professor, now retired, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. What can go wrong when preachers speak about God's promises?

Haddon Robinson: We can promise what God isn't promising. For instance, we can extend the biblical promise that God loves people to imply or even assert that God wants his people to be healthy, prosperous, and successful. I may throw in some examples of how that characterizes some Christians we know. But I can ignore conscientious followers of Jesus who suffer a fatal case of cancer or who have been wiped out financially. ...

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Haddon Robinson

August 05, 2012  11:51am

What I appreciate about Dr. Robinson is his realistic approach to Scripture. He doesn't discount God. But neither does he make God a figure we can manipulate. He shows us all of God and lets us see that God loves us and is faithful and will contiinue to be faithful to us no matter what our circumstances.

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