Luke 2 : What Did the Angels Say to the Shepherds in Bethlehem?

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by Frank Carmical

General Information:
I preached this sermon on Sunday morning, 12-11-11 at Lafayette Bible Chapel in Lafayette, Louisiana  USA.

Sermon Title: What Did the Angels Say to the Shepherds in Bethlehem?

Sermon Passage: Luke 2:1-20

Sermon Purpose:
Present the Christmas story from a different angle by introducing people to textual criticism in the NT and the different ways to translate the Bible.

Overall Evaluation: This is the worst sermon I have preached at this church, maybe the worst sermon I have preached in a long time, if ever! This sermon puts the Ugh into Ugly! L I managed to take what we call the Christmas Story from the Bible, one of the most famous of all passages, known and loved by Christians worldwide and from all faiths, and turn it into a futile exercise in nitpicking and uncertainty.  It’s like taking a blow torch to a Nativity Scene and watch it burn slowly!  I ask myself now: “What was I thinking?” And the answer is: “I wasn’t thinking!”

1. About the only thing good I can say about this sermon is that I was honest about not knowing the answer to the central question. This would have gained me a few points with some people skeptical of Christians who always say we are right!
2. You might say there were some things that were interesting or informative, but these were negated by a huge “So What?” at the end!

1. Theoretical, esoteric, irrelevant to most people, pedantic, pseudo-intellectual, unnecessary!
2. Teaching, not preaching, boring, not engaging
3. I used our congregation as human guinea pigs to see how much they could take in a sermon—since the sermon flopped, my poor congregation were flopping around like fish out of water, gasping for air! Cry
4. Not the appropriate venue to talk about textual criticism or Bible translation—not on a      Sunday morning, not near Christmas, not with so many unbelievers present, not in this subject matter!
5. The opening illustration about the mom and kids felt tacked on with an unclear connection to the sermon—just to try to float the idea of “good will” to people at Christmas—a great illustration of how NOT to use an illustration!
6. So many details and busy little points—like a 3-ring circus with all the dog and pony shows and an acrobat that falls from the high wire without a net! Yikes!

Comments: This discussion belongs in a seminary or Bible college classroom, or within a Bible study of extremely committed students.  I used this church as a guinea pig to see if I could get away with this kind of sermon. I couldn’t! ‘Nuff said! Frown

The grades I give myself on this sermon:
Number grade:
[on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high)]: 1.5
Letter grade:
[A (high) and F (low)]: F-

*A lesson you can learn from this sermon:
Learn from my mistakes here and don’t copy this sermon, unless you want to get fired from your church!  It’s OK to try new things, but don’t try to fly a lead balloon! Crash!