This is an excerpt of an article John Piper wrote back in 2008.
The difference between an entertainment-oriented preacher and a Bible-oriented preacher is the manifest connection of the preacher’s words to the Bible as what authorizes what he says.
The entertainment-oriented preacher seems to be at ease talking about many things that are not drawn out of the Bible. In his message, he seems to enjoy more talking about other things than what the Bible teaches. His words seem to have a self-standing worth as interesting or fun. They are entertaining. But they don’t give the impression that this man stands as the representative of God before God’s people to deliver God’s message.
The Bible-oriented preacher, on the other hand, does see himself that way — “I am God’s representative sent to God’s people to deliver a message from God.” He knows that the only way a man can dare to assume such a position is with a trembling sense of unworthy servanthood under the authority of the Bible. He knows that the only way he can deliver God’s message to God’s people is by rooting it in and saturating it with God’s own revelation in the Bible.
I often wonder about pastors who use gimmicks, campaigns, or themed series from the pulpit. I wonder if they’re genuine. I don’t want to be critical but I wonder if their heart is really into it for God or for man. I’m all for appealing to a person’s interest but not at the sake of Gospel clarity.
It is a struggle at times to want to appeal to people, rather than to tell them what God has revealed. Telling people the truth, at times, can make me uncomfortable, but I am not to decide whether or not people need to hear the truth, it is my responsibility to teach the truth. Knowing that it is the Lord who convicts, and not I does not make it any easier either.
But can you be both? Can you be entertaining as well as biblically driven with sound doctrine? I think so and there are some who do it well. What do you think?