Should We Preach to the Affections?

Affective, But Not Manipulative


Is preaching to the emotions a manipulative act? Some believe God's Word is intended primarily for the mind, but when we miss the emotional aspect of people they are left unable to worship Him with their whole being. John Piper, Voddie Baucham, and Miguel Núñez take up this issue to show a better way for faithful preaching. Rather than focusing on the mind or affections alone, the two ought to be invited into wonder over the Word of God.

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. Voddie Baucham serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas. Miguel Núñez serves as the Senior Pastor of the International Baptist Church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and President of Wisdom and Integrity Ministries.  


When you think of the affections, what comes to mind? Would you consider preaching that targets the deep emotions of people manipulative? If so, why? if not, why not?
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How would you describe the difference between preaching to the mind and preaching to the affections? What would be the dangers of emphasizing one over the other?
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Voddie suggested that we should aim for preaching that engages both the mind and the emotions, but it starts with being moved by Scripture ourselves. As you prepare to preach, how do you set aside time in your routine to allow God to move you with His Word? Can you tell a difference in your preaching when you neglect this? If so, how?
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Preaching to the affections becomes manipulative when we are more concerned with provoking a particular response than faithfully teaching the God's revealed Word. Our call is to exposit Scripture in such a way that when the mind begins to comprehend the truth, emotions follow. In other words, we preach in a way that acknowledges there is an appropriate emotional response to the Word of God. 

How has the revealed truth of God informed the way you respond to Him emotionally? As you have grown in your faith, have you seen any changes in your affections towards Christ? If so, what are they?
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John expressed his concern over how many people appear bored by God because they are simply given information through preaching. They are not taught an emotional enjoyment of Him. How would you describe your own congregation in this regard? Would you say there is a healthy emotional maturity? If not, why? What would it look like to preach to their affections in a balanced way this week?
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When it comes to the mind and the affections, we should never resort to an either/or consideration about how we ought to preach. Rather, we must acknowledge that a right understanding of God will naturally encourage a healthy emotional response to Him. The call of the preacher is not to manipulate for the sake of a particular response, but to preach the Scriptures faithfully and model an affectionate worship of Christ. As you pray for a deeper emotional maturity in your congregation, allow God to continue shaping your heart as well. May you lead others in a faithful and affectionate pursuit of the Savior.


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