The Power of a Parable

By   •   August 31, 2011

As the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler has mentored and taught pastors over the years. He believes that many pastors want to be bold in the pulpit, and are constantly looking for a fresh understanding of preaching. On Sept. 15 at The Cove’s Pastor’s Institute, Mohler will show pastors how to turn to the parables of the Greatest Teacher—Jesus—for help.

“When you point to the parables, you can preach biblical truth in ways that will surprise people,” Mohler explained. “A pastor is a servant of the Word, and his responsibility is to teach and preach the Bible. As with all Scripture, the parables hold incredible power for preaching in the 21st century. However, I see the parables as unique literary units for encouraging pastors about their preaching.”

Through the daylong Pastors’ Institute, Mohler wants to help pastors debunk one common misconception held by many Christians about the parables: that they are merely lessons on morality.

“To my great regret, most Christians tend to think of the parables as tame little stories that Jesus told,” he said. “The opposite is true: they are powerful, convicting Gospel messages.”

“Rather than see parables as the Christian version of Aesop’s fables, I want Christians (pastors included) to see how powerful they really are. They are incredible explosions of biblical truth. Jesus threw them at His opponents and consoled his followers with them. Each parable detonated with a very clear Gospel message.”

Mohler hopes to embolden pastors to use this convicting literature as an example in their own preaching. He says there are some pastors who simply lack the courage or conviction to be bold. However, he thinks that there is a greater number who want to be bold, but are grappling with how do that.

His advice is to let God do the talking through His Word.

“The Bible is a living Word. Our job is not to make it come alive, but to set it loose. I want to encourage pastors in this truth, and help them model their preaching after the Greatest Teacher who ever lived.”

As pastors head home from their day at The Cove, Mohler hopes they will leave with practical tools to stand in the pulpit and effectively deliver the Word of God.

“I want to send them away with a new appreciation for what Jesus was doing through the gift of the parable,” he said. “I hope they leave with a limitless excitement to get back and preach the parables to their own congregations. I think they will be encouraged when they see what happens when the Word is set loose among Christ’s people.”

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he serves as professor of Christian Theology. He is also host of radio’s The Albert Mohler Program. An accomplished author, he has been hailed by TIME as the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.”