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When Preaching Hurts More Than It Helps

Portrait of young worried woman on the nature

The word of God teaches us that the Lord uses the “foolishness” of preaching to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21) and that God reveals His will regarding eternal life through preaching (Titus 1:4). Hence, we can never overstate the importance of preaching to fulfill the purposes of God on the earth. That being said, in my experience of more than 30 years of preaching the gospel, I have found there are times preaching hurts — and we do more harm than good with our messages.

Sometimes preaching hurts more than helps

1. When we perpetuate the “false self” instead of confronting it.

Much of the preaching today is very similar to the motivational speeches and teachings by folks like Tony Robbins, Napoleon Hill and others: very encouraging messages that have profound truths regarding human capability, goal setting and maximizing our potential as human beings.

While there is much truth in these messages, there is one fatal flaw: They assume a human can achieve his or her full potential and purpose apart from relying upon Jesus Christ!

In John 15, Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” These motivational speakers perpetuate a Semipelagian message that almost assumes the goodness of men without taking into consideration original sin!

Unfortunately, the same kind of motivational speeches are now filling up churches across the world by Christian preachers who attempt to Christianize their teaching by invoking the name of Christ once in a while!

The end result is this kind of preaching perpetuates the “false self” that only looks for self-fulfillment, self-preservation, happiness and the fulfillment of our dreams—all without going to the cross and dying to self!

A preacher who only encourages human potential and the fulfillment of self-centered “dreams” based on our “passions” and not based on dying to self and seeking first the Kingdom of God is doing much harm to their followers!

Eventually, all these believers will fall flat on their faces because God will not allow them to fulfill their divine purpose based solely upon human achievement and effort.