Preachers Should Be Like Naughty Kids

For every head-scratching page that Robert Capon writes, he pens a a mind-blowingly insightful one. Some of the best paragraphs I’ve ever read on grace come from Capon. As far as I can tell, he holds some wild ideas about the atonement. So, as with anyone, you have to discern the meat from the bones. But it’s worth it. The following paragraph on preaching made me sing:

I think good preachers should be like bad kids. They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations, steal their bottles of religion pills…and flush them all down the drain. The church, by and large, has drugged itself into thinking that proper human behavior is the key to its relationship with God. What preachers need to do is force it to go cold turkey with nothing but the word of the cross–and then be brave enough to stick around while [the congregation] goes through the inevitable withdrawal symptoms. But preachers can’t be that naughty or brave unless they’re free from their own need for the dope of acceptance. And they wont be free of their need until they can trust the God who has already accepted them, in advance and dead as door-nails, in Jesus. Ergo, the absolute indispensability of trust in Jesus’ passion. Unless the faith of preachers is in that alone–and not in any other person, ecclesiastical institution, theological system, moral prescription, or master recipe for human loveliness–they will be of very little use in the pulpit.

May God raise up a generation of preachers who storm the the gates of worldliness with “It is finished.”

  • Zac Hicks says:

    What powerful words! May God give us the bravery to own the foolishness of the cross alone! God help us!

  • Darryl says:

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

  • theoldadam says:


    It’s also perfect for the ‘yeah butt”-ers, and the ‘how-to’ ers.

    After all, “you just can’t live any way you want, can you?” (as they do anyway)

  • G & N says:

    Yes, this might make it easier for those of us “grace/gospel convinced” individuals to find the right church!

    I know, just as we’re not perfect, there are no perfect people or churches -but to be in a church on the right footing, so that law and grace or mixture aren’t alternatively preached each week, sounds amazing. (… and in any church or person, there is good! just gets tiring sorting thru all the time).


  • jeremiah says:

    And he prayed to himself ‘ I thank you that I am not like the ‘yeah butt’-ers and the ‘how-to’ ers, that I am not like those who don’t have the gospel the right way I do. I am thankful that I take the sacraments twice a months and I go and sin boldly.’

  • Mitchell Hammonds says:

    Boo yah!! Capons view of the parables are fantastic!

  • theoldadam says:

    I too, am thankful that I know (by God’s grace) that I am a sinner and am not on the spiritual/ladder climbing project with the ‘yeah-butt ers. And that I’m able to return to my baptism, daily. And that the Lord gives me forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation, in the sacraments!

    Thanks be to God!

  • theoldadam says:

    Oh those peaky sacraments.

    Maybe Jesus should never have commanded them for us. (?)

  • theoldadam says:


  • Walter Flach, Geneva-CH says:

    What powerful statements by Robert Capon. I just couldn’t agree more. He really nailed it. It is my desire that all the legalistic and moralistic do-more-try-harder-preaching of those who think they understand law and grace but in fact don’t be crushed and burnt by the holy blood-drunken flames of the it-is-finished-gospel, for the glory of HIS kingdom!

  • […] Preachers Should Be Like Naughty Kids by Tullian Tchividjian […]

  • Paul St Jean says:

    Need the gos pill

  • James says:

    The difference between grace and glory may not be as great as one might imagine. The nature of both is the same. Grace is glory in the bud; glory is grace in the flower. The Christian, therefore, has something of heaven now. God purifies the streams by, regenerating the fountain. I watched the recent sermon today on But… God pt.2 That was a Holy Ghost moving attention get’r. I mean if the people in that congregation didn’t feel the Holy Spirit moving in that place then maybe you should get an assurance call an ask can I get a amen! I can tell you it really had an impact on me. I was there at the beginning of this series an try to make there as often as I can but…I admire you on your “getting involved” tactics, very admirable and one is certainly not slack here as one might think. I did go there just to see what goes and maybe meet you in person but…The other day I was listening to Irwin Lutzer and you would think you guys were trading notes. He also said verbatim …it’s not about us it’s all about Him, couldn’t help but think of you and I think you made that point quite clear in your last sermon. well enough said… know that I pray for you and yours.

    For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you. James

  • Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    Because of Love

    If you preach about the Cross
    It will never bring a loss
    Since the Man on the cross
    Is the only saving boss

    Out of love He was cursed
    Tortured at the very worst
    Passion made His body burst
    Resurrected He’s the first

    Who calls out for the One
    And depends on the Son
    May be sure the deed is done
    Cause the race’s already won

    Please don’t stop “singing the gospel”, Tullian :)

  • […] Preachers Should Be Like Naughty Kids – Tullian Tchividjian […]

  • […] - Preachers Should Be Like Naughty Kids: They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations, steal their bottles of […]

  • […] Preachers Should Be Like Naughty Kids by Tullian Tchividjian [required […]

  • […] Preachers should be like naughty kids […]

  • Debra Mieth says:

    Sounds all well and good, but do these naughty children preachers know the difference between the Cross and worldliness?

  • […] Preachers Should Be Like Naughty Kids – Tullian Tchividjian pulls a great quote which, I think, challenges preachers to be willing to make the tough leadership decisions in stimulating their congregations out of complacency. The beauty is in the analogy, and if I describe it to you it will give too much away. Just trust me… this is worth a read. […]

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