Being Explicit without being X-rated

Leave a comment

01/02/2015 by Chris Green

wash_my_mouth_out_with_soap_ai_zazzlebuttonbottleopener-rc2e91765f5e44bf0935ef0964ba6a823_z84df_324This morning we had a masterclass from Jesus in how to preach quite directly and without ambiguity about sexual sin, but without falling into the trap of being embarrassing, or cute, or ‘daringly’ explicit.

We need how to do this, because our people need direct teaching. In a few weeks’ time, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ will come out, and it will be all over the media, and over the coffee mugs too.  It will be the rite of initiation for a teen group to go to, and will lead to many of our members being tempted in very dangerous ways.

Some preachers will be minded to ignore it. That’s understandable, but I think misguided.  We teach truth, but we also refute error.  And that doesn’t just mean error over our doctrine.

Others are going to go into prurient detail.  There’s a fine line here, because I recall a staff meeting when a sermon series on sex was being planned, and there was a careful but simultaneously hilarious discussion about what words could be used, and what words couldn’t.  There will, and must be, issues that fall into the second category, because we shall always be tempted to be over-explicit.

So how does Jesus do it?  He raises the graphic importance of the issue, and all it requires from us is a nanosecond of imagination. A young child could hear this and it would go over her head. No-one in the crowd goes home furious that a particular word was used.

Imagine a man, late in the evening when the family has gone to bed, glued to his laptop.

‘If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.’

In context that second comment is jaw-droppingly clear, but quite clean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shortlisted for “Most Inspiring Leadership Blog, 2018”

New resource

Pastors are busy, and leading a church is a demanding task.  That’s why I wrote this e-bookchecklist: The Pastor’s Checkup – The Top 10 Questions every pastor needs to answer (and helpful stuff if you can’t)

There’s only way to get it is by subscribing to my  (occasional) email newsletter here.


God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Legal stuff

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2018 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: