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Both Faithful and Effective

What is the proper place of persuasion

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Preaching Today: Preachers want to be both faithful and effective in what they're doing. Why is it so hard to hold to both of those values equally?

Duane Litfin: You have to think first of all about what we mean by faithfulness, and what we mean by effectiveness. By faithfulness, people often mean the content of what they have to say. They don't want to be locked into adapting to their audience, such that their content winds up being lost or distorted or obscured.

They have something they want to say, and they don't want to be confused by who is going to hear it and how they're going to hear it.

That's right, exactly. At the other end are people who are so audience-oriented, they so adapt themselves, that the content is lost or distorted. There's a tension between those, knowing exactly what the balance point is, where you're being true to the content, the truth you're dealing with, but you're also communicating in a way your audience can understand and be drawn to. Sometimes we find ourselves ...

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