Thursday, June 2, 2011

Prescription for Anxiety

This has rather surprised me. This is last Sunday morning's sermon. Preaching in the course through John's Gospel I came to the text "Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me." So the question presented itself, how to present it? Well, it seemed that the best direction to take the message was to major on the fact that Jesus was reassuring anxious disciples. The title, I confess, is influenced by a book (which I have not read) by Leslie D. Weatherhead, who pastored the City Temple in London during World War 2. Weatherhead was a theological liberal who was into psychology (he wrote at least five books relating to psychology). But this sermon has nothing to do with Weatherhead!

What happened next was that, in about four days it has become the fourth most popular sermon on Bethel's SermonAudio page, with over 210 downloads. Why? I must confess that the only reason I can think of is that the sermon deals with a topic - anxiety - that a lot of people take some interest in. Or as one might say in a cynical mood, post a sermon with a psychological-sounding title, and people will listen.

Now, I'm a preacher first and foremost. I'm not a psychologist, I haven't studied the subject, and unlike Leslie Weatherhead I don't have a degree relating to it. . I don't intend to practice it, and if you need psychological help, find a good Christian psychiatrist. And don't expect to find me preaching a series on "Psychology in the service of the Soul." That was a Weatherhead series!

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