Scripture and the church have always taken a dim view of flattery also because it perpetuates the deadliest of the Seven Deadly Sins: pride. Flattery, in short, is deadly for the giver and the receiver.
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Even the best seminary degree represents little more than a priming of the pump for a lifetime of abiding learning. The wise church knows this and provides pastors with rich and ongoing opportunities to be led by the Spirit.
It's difficult for me to believe that it's been now close to 8 years since I left my last congregation as pastor and weekly preacher. I like to think that my ability to draw on nearly 16 years' worth of preaching experience helps me in my job now training up a new generation of preachers via our students here at Calvin Seminary. But every once in a while I realize that maybe I've been out of the "game" just long enough that I have lost touch a little with the struggles of preachers today...
Two weeks ago I was privileged to sit in on a consultation on preaching hosted by my colleagues. One theme we circled back to often had to with the use of social media in the preaching event. Many of us who were at the consultation had been pastors of congregations in the past and we admitted to each other that it's an odd thought to ponder someone in a pew Tweeting about a sermon even as we are delivering it...