Shaddix: Powerful preaching comes through weakness
By Allen Palmeri
December 13, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – The heart of the message that James Shaddix, pastor, Riverside Baptist Church, Denver, sought to communicate at the Nov. 28-29 preaching workshop at Concord Baptist Church here, was to remember the biblical principle of strength through weakness.
Shaddix, who spent 11 years on the faculty of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he specialized as a preaching professor, said he appreciates the Apostle Paul, who preached in weakness, fear and much trembling (1 Cor. 2:3-5). He also likes 2 Cor. 12:7-10, which he said contains principles that are the key to effectiveness in preaching.
“How badly do you want the power of God on your ministry?” he asked the pastors in attendance.
Shaddix went on to proclaim that the power of God is wrapped up in a Christmas present like 1 Thess. 1:5, where the Gospel is identified as coming in both word and power.
“God has chosen a foolish message of salvation – that’s the cross – and a foolish means of communicating it – that’s this thing called preaching,” he said.
Shaddix said he struggles with how to communicate such an odd message to people. When he, the preacher, learns to take a back seat to the text, God is particularly pleased because that is when God gets the glory.
“Could He have chosen some other way?” Shaddix asked rhetorically. “Paul said He chose it intentionally, the Cross, because it’s a foolish thing. And the reason He did it is when people get saved by it, they can only come to the one conclusion: ‘Only God could do this.’”
On the plane trip into Missouri, Shaddix sat next to a female gymnastics coach who is a practicing Mormon. They talked about her faith and she told him she had no assurance she would make it to heaven. Shaddix said he had all the assurance he needed in Christ.
“You could see the confusion on her face about something called salvation that could be done that didn’t involve me,” he said. “It wasn’t dependent on how I lived it out, how I kept up with it. It doesn’t make sense to people, and that’s why when somebody truly gets it, only one Person gets the glory, and that’s God.”
Shaddix also instructed the pastors to nurture a passion for God, not people, and to live to be filled with the Holy Spirit.