Two heavy weights in the preaching arena, John Piper and Michael Duduit, duke it out over the use of video clips and dramas in preaching. We report. You decide.
John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the other corner is Dr. Michael Duduit, editor of Preaching Magazine and author of Communicate with Power and Preaching with Power.
Here are Piper’s thoughts:
“I think the use of video and drama largely is a token of unbelief in the power of preaching. And I think that, to the degree that pastors begin to supplement their preaching with this entertaining spice to help people stay with them and be moved and get helped, it’s going to backfire…. It’s going to communicate that preaching is weak, preaching doesn’t save, preaching doesn’t hold, but entertainment does.”
Here is Michael Duduit’s rebuttal of Piper’s view:
I use video only occasionally in my own preaching, but I’ve seen it used with great effectiveness in many, many churches. I see preachers who believe deeply in preaching use visual images as one more resource for effective communication. When it is used well, it is simply another illustrative tool that helps engage young adults with truth in a visual language they understand. In that sense, it follows in the tradition of Jesus’ own preaching and teaching, which was not only packed with word-crafted images, but filled with object lessons (coins, wheat fields, fig trees and so on) that would be quite comparable to the use of a brief video clip in our own age.
By all means, don’t use video, drama, microphones, pulpits or any other extra-biblical tool in your preaching if you feel it might compromise your message or God’s use of you as His messenger. But let’s not attack or belittle those faithful preachers in a new generation who find such tools helpful as they seek to proclaim the Word of God (Newsletter PreachingNow Vol. 8, No. 28).