About Dick Stetler's Past Sermons
The messages that follow in this section are known as topical sermons. While they are biblically based, the messages follow themes that are commonly held by people regardless of their religious orientation. In many cases, the lessons are so basic that they could apply to people who have lived throughout human history. The metaphors used are obviously different but the themes are ones that speak to our common humanity.
When did Dick become such a maverick? Throughout his ministry he became acutely aware that what had been handed down for centuries as the Word of God had little to do with the scriptures. What has become sacred to the theology of those being guided by the scriptures is the interpretation of what was written. Dick has no quarrel with the scriptures; he is challenged with many theological beliefs that have developed over centuries of repetition -- beliefs that were passed along by those who did not distinguish between metaphor and substantive facts.
Dick bypasses many theological creedal beliefs in his messages by focusing on the salient themes that speak to where people live. Furthermore, he understands that what people believe is not as essential or important as the spirit by which they live. From Dick’s frame of reference, The Gospel can be summarized in these words, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor with the same compassion and understanding as you desire for yourself.”
We need to approach every religion with a deep humility, by which we remember that God has not left Himself without a witness in any nation at any time. When we approach people of another faith, it should be in a spirit of expectancy. We need to listen for how God has been speaking to them and what new understanding of God's grace and love we may discover from them. Our first task in approaching others, another culture or another religion, is to take off our shoes, for the place we are standing is holy ground. If we do not, we may find ourselves treading on people's dreams. More serious still, we may neglect remembering that God was here before our arrival.
The Primal Vision: Xian Presence Amid African Religion, 1963