In his Aug. 29, 2006, online commentary, R. Albert Mohler discusses several concerns about the state of preaching today. The first issue he discusses is the loss of confidence in the power of the word: “Contemporary Americans are surrounded by more words than any previous generation in human history. We are bombarded with words delivered to us in every conceivable form—sung, broadcast, electrified, printed and spoken. Words have been digitalized, commercialized and subjected to postmodern linguistic theories.
“Taken together, all this amounts to a significant loss of confidence in the word as written and spoken. Several years ago, the photographer Richard Avedon declared, ‘images are fast replacing words as our primary language.’ This certainly appears to be the case. In The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word, author Mitchell Stephens of New York University argues, ‘the image is replacing the word as the predominant means of mental transport.’
“[Because] preaching is itself a form of mental transport, any loss of confidence in the word leads to a loss of confidence in preaching. Ultimately, preaching will cease to be Christian preaching if the preacher loses confidence in the authority of the Bible as the Word of God and in the power of the spoken word to communicate the saving and transforming message of the Bible. The preacher must stand up and speak with confidence, declaring the Word of God to a congregation that is bombarded with hundreds of thousands of words each week, many of them delivered with a soundtrack or moving images. The audacious claim of Christian preaching is that the faithful declaration of the Word of God, spoken through the preacher’s voice, is even more powerful than anything music or image can deliver.” (Click here to read the full commentary.)