I continue to benefit from reading Kairos Journal, the online resource for pastors. You must register, but it is free.
The following is from KJ. The first paragraph is an editorial introduction to the quote (second paragraph) from Kierkegaard. This is a much needed exhortations to pastors, lest we play at our task, willing to rebuke the sins of the world, but unwilling to address the sin in our own congregation, flying the banner of inerrancy while conveniently avoiding difficult texts concerning issues like church discipline or ministerial pride.
Kierkegaard has received well-deserved criticism from modern evangelical theologians. Nevertheless, the following passage taken from his Journal powerfully exposes the terrible problems that develop when the Church fails to understand the seriousness of her task in the world. To the Church of his day, Kierkegaard exhorted: your battle is spiritual, and war is grim business: get on with it. To the preacher, he underscored the need for risky sermons, which could cost him his comfort, his position, and even his life.
We all know what it is to play warfare in mock battle, that it means to imitate everything just as it is in war. The troops are drawn up, they march into the field, seriousness is evident in every eye, but also courage and enthusiasm, the orderlies rush back and forth intrepidly, the commander’s voice is heard, the signals, the battle cry, the volley of musketry, the thunder of cannon – everything exactly as in war, lacking only one thing . . . the danger.
So also it is with playing Christianity, that is, imitating Christian preaching in such a way that everything, absolutely everything is included in as deceptive a form as possible – only one thing is lacking . . . the danger.