Epistles of Thomas

May 29, 2009

Yes, Lord, I Have Sinned, But I Have Several Excellent Excuses review

Filed under: Preaching,Review — Thomas @ 15:14
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sinned I previously related an illustration from this book but today I finished reading all the sermons and need to post a criticism.

James W. Moore, Yes, Lord, I Have Sinned, But I Have Several Excellent Excuses. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1991. 068746661X.

Moore is a good user of illustrations but he fails to use the biblical texts as the linch pin of his sermons. This is well illustrated in his sermon on Mark 5:1-20 which is the story of the demoniac possessed by “legion” which subsequently drowned  a herd of pigs. Moore dismisses Mark’s account of the events because he evidently does not believe in demon possession. This is how he describes the demoniac: “He is so unbalanced that he believes he is held captive by a whole legion of demons. He causes such a ruckus that a herd of pigs is thrown into a panic and stampedes into the sea” (88).

Moore seems to accept that Jesus healed that man but conceives of the problem according to modern sensibilities. His solution to these problems is to 1) Keep our sense of priorities; 2) Keep our sense of humour; 3) Keep our sense of the Holy Habits; 4) Keep our sense of partnership with God. Point three comes closest to the truth: “regular church attendance, regular prayer, regular study of the Scriptures, regularly helping other people, striving daily to live the faith–all these are great spiritual vitamins that can keep our souls healthy and our personalities balanced” (91). The demoniac could have attempted to follow these points but he was powerless in the face of demonic enslavement. It is clear that no one could bind this man because he was bound by demons.

Mark’s point is that Jesus had the power to cleanse this man who is under Satan and make him new. Jesus unbound him so that no one need try and bind him again. We can’t ignore Mark’s presentation in an effort to “tell the truth” and relate what “really happened” to our own context. Mark presents a powerful Jesus who acted. We can’t emasculate his actions and still have a powerful Jesus who is able to save people from spiritual bondage today.

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