In the book Exploring and Proclaiming the Apostles’ Creed (Eerdmans), Roger Van Harn notes, “When the confirmation class was concluding its preparatory sessions with a weekend retreat, Pastor Mary decided it was time for a no holds barred wrestling with church doctrines. The sessions to date were laced with ‘What do you believe about..?’ and ‘What would you do if..?’ questions. Discussions were animated. It seemed time to take on ‘This is what the church believes about (creation, providence, covenant, atonement, etc.).’ When she finished outlining the doctrine of the Trinity, a 14-year-old responded with, ‘I think I’m getting it, but it makes my head hurt.’

“No preacher would want to send his congregants home from worship with their heads hurting, but there is a growing sense that the church could benefit these days from a revival of doctrinal preaching. The topical ‘three points and a poem’ sermons from the North American mid 20th century need not be the model for the revival, but sermons designed to teach what the church has received in and with the gospel of Jesus Christ may be the witness that satisfies a growing hunger. Ironically, the mood of postmodernism which relativizes faith convictions into mere personal opinions may well increase the appetite and make more room for church doctrine on the table.”

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