I had been ordained for a month and was meeting with two people appointed to evaluate my fitness for ministry….The question that I’ve never forgotten was, “Do you preach for a decision?”
The question has haunted me. We preachers proclaim good news and speak about all the amazing ways that good news penetrates, comforts, challenges and transforms lives. But my questioner had a point: proclaiming good news ought to in some way lead to a response, a decision of some kind. Otherwise proclaiming the good news of unconditional divine love can be an exercise in what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” Preaching ought to lead to people caring more, giving more and living more. It is the assurance of God’s presence, to be sure, and it is testimony to God’s healing love. But it is also an invitation to do something.
–John M. Buchanan, Christian Century, October 4, 2011, issue, page 3