With this issue, Preaching officially celebrates its tenth birthday. Ten years of publication — sixty issues. Few of the hundreds of publications born each year last long enough to make such a claim, so forgive us the luxury of reveling in the moment.
OK, revel over. Now what?
Preaching’s first decade has corresponded with a renewed interest in the pulpit throughout much of the Christian world. Even seminaries where preaching’s obituary was being written just a few years ago are today recognizing that such views were not simply premature but naive. Over the past decade we have witnessed a multitude of preaching resources come and go: books, periodicals, video and audio tapes, and so on. Preaching is again a hot property.
But where is preaching going from here? In the coming decade, preaching faces a significant opponent that threatens its viability. That opponent is to be found in the rampant relativism that has come to characterize American culture — even within the church.
A 1991 national survey indicated that 67 percent of all Americans rejected the existence of absolute truth. By 1994, that number had risen to 72 percent. Even among self-proclaimed evangelicals, more than half (52 percent in 1991, 62 percent in 1994) do not accept the notion of absolute truth.
In contemporary western culture, tolerance is valued above truth. No wonder, if we no longer believe truth exists. Even within much of theological education today, the only “truth” that cannot be tolerated is the failure to tolerate all views. Confused? No more than tomorrow’s ministers.
Preaching is endangered by such moral and theological relativism because the very act of proclaiming the gospel is based on the existence of absolute truth: God has spoken, and we proclaim His Word. Where truth ceases to exist, preaching ceases to have any meaning.
But despite cultural protests to the contrary, absolute truth does exist. God has revealed to us the One who is “the way, the truth and the life.” Our task is the same as that given to the first Christian preachers: to go into a pagan, unbelieving culture and proclaim Christ and His truth.
And if we are faithful at that task, we will have the opportunity — as did those first missionary preachers — to transform our world. Could there be a more exciting and worthy calling as we enter a new century?

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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