In this sermon in the book of Amos, Russ preaches that it is never safe to ignore the work of justice, and that the American church has compromised its witness by doing so. He addresses the Hebrew word for “oppressed” and the accusations of “Marxism” it attracts, and admonishes us to respond to God’s prophetic word with self-abasement instead of self-defense. “The God who is Love is furious when the royal dignity of His image-bearers is disregarded and offended.” There is no greater wound you can inflict on a person who is suffering an injustice than to say that God has nothing to say about it.
The Reformed Tradition
Announcing the Good News
There are among both Catholics and Protestants devout adherents, those committed believers who will not miss the weekly church service for anything. The similarity in habit, however, conceals a striking difference in rationale. Whereas Catholics attend church to celebrate the Mass, Protestants often go to hear a sermon.
Reformed preaching emerged not so much out of a theological conviction or an ecclesiastical orientation, but rather as a volcanic overflow of a long-rumbling thirst for the Word of God. As the Protestant Reformation began to germinate, the clamor for preaching was so strong that the city council of Geneva in 1549 ordered its preachers to deliver a sermon every morning of the week, not just every other morning. Though the Middle Ages had featured occasional preachers with exceptional skill, the Reformation made substantive, dynamic preaching at once common and accessible.