preaching

The Danger of Sensationalistic Preaching

Recently, I’ve grown fascinated with John Broadus, most know for being one of the founding members and later a president of my alma mater, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  He’s also known for penning one of the greatest preaching manuals in our nation’s history, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons (hardcover | Kindle ). 

One of the warnings he gave his students was on the danger of sensationalistic preaching, that is, preaching that strictly appeals to the emotions of the listener rather than to the mind.  Beecher Johnson, contributor to John Broadus: A Living Legacy, defines this as

… using any means to gain the ear of, or have an effect on, the audience that does not honor the sacred nature of God and the things of God or ensure singular focus on the spiritual and theological message of God in the text (216).

In the mid to late 1800’s to even now, preaching that is rooted in emotion rather than revelation of Scripture fails to honor God and will fail to change lives in any substantial way.

In that same book, Steven Lawson gives a warning to churches today:

Pressure to produce bottom-line results has led many ministries to sacrifice the centrality of biblical preaching on the altar of man-centered pragmatism.  A new way of “doing” church is emerging.  In this radical paradigmatic shift, exposition is being replaced with entertainment, preaching with performances, doctrine with drama, and theology with theatrics (Famine in the Land, p. 25, quoted in A Living Legacy, p. 213). 

Pray for preachers of the gospel, that they rely on the testimony of Scripture rather that the shifting sands of sensationalism.  That’s what the world and the church most needs. 

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What is the Antidote to Anemic Worship? The Answer May Surprise You

Albert Mohler of Southern Seminary gives the answer, and it’s a good one: expository preaching.

If most evangelicals would quickly agree that worship is central to the life of the church, there would be no consensus to an unavoidable question: What is central to Christian worship? Historically, the more liturgical churches have argued that the sacraments form the heart of Christian worship. These churches argue that the elements of the Lord’s Supper and the water of baptism most powerfully present the gospel. Among evangelicals, some call for evangelism as the heart of worship, planning every facet of the service—songs, prayers, the sermon—with the evangelistic invitation in mind.

Though most evangelicals mention the preaching of the word as a necessary or customary part of worship, the prevailing model of worship in evangelical churches is increasingly defined by music, along with innovations such as drama and video presentations. When preaching the word retreats, a host of entertaining innovations will take its place.

Music touches the emotions like few things can.  Songs are packed with chord constructions and changes that can move the heart; they contain numerous memories attached; and they have been used as ammunition in the dreaded ‘worship wars’ that take place among God’s people.

Oftentimes, we come to worship with an idea of what we want, but God in His word tells us what we need—a steady diet of His whole counsel (Acts 20:24-28). 

Pray that your pastors have time to study so that you and the church may be well-fed. 

Pray they would have clear thoughts and clear speech in which to convey His Word.

 

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Five Keys for Young Preachers to Remember

Young preachers have their work cut out for them. 

They sense a call to preach.  They may go to school or sit with their pastor to learn some basics about preaching.  Many scholars and pastors write books on the subject. 

But the only way to really learn how to preach is to, well, preach.  Even so, young preachers would do well to have a paradigm from which they work to approach their sermons.  This will help not only them, but their listeners that they so want to see know and grow in Christ. 

Intention.  Preaching needs a plan.  What is your intention with your sermon?  This involves much prayer and study of the text at hand.  If you preach expositionally, you will certain have the parameters of the text from which to proceed.  But given that the Spirit has inspired the Word, you must engage in persistent prayer and study of the passage.  Cull your sermon down to one main point or intention.  Even if you use multiple points, they should all feed the main intention. 

Inform.  Yes, preaching is about information.  You are passing along propositional truths.  Grammatically, these are known as indicatives—truths and objective facts of what God has revealed in His Word.  “Christ has died, and has risen, and will come again” is an example.  This speaks to what has been done. 

Be careful not to bring every last thing you’ve culled in your study.  You risk being a fire hose on your unsuspecting people.  They point is not to show how much information you know, but the goal is transformation by the Word and the Spirit (Romans 12:1-2). 

Inspire.  This brings passion to the propositions!  This gives heat to the light of God’s Word.  To preach God’s Word without the corresponding passion will not inspire.  The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:14 says, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died” (NIV).  That inner drive, that inner compulsion, that inner desire to rally the troops!  This must be present—without it, it will land flat.  And there’s no reason this should ever happen.  It’s the Word!  Preach!!

Illustrate.  Preachers must connect biblical truth to present-day situations.  Illustrations aren’t selling out, as if the Word is not sufficient!  It is—and we must illustrate how the Word is brought to bear to the culture today.  Spurgeon brings his usual insight:

In addressing my students in the College long ago, I was urging upon them the duty and necessity of using plenty of illustrations in their preaching, that they might be both interesting and instructive. I reminded them that the Saviour had many likes in his discourses. He said, over and over again, “The kingdom of heaven is LIKE”; “The kingdom of heaven is LIKE.” “Without a parable spake he not unto them.” The common people heard him gladly, because he was full of emblem and simile. A sermon without illustrations is like a room without windows. One student remarked that the difficulty was to get illustrations in any great abundance. “Yes”, I said, “if you do not wake up, but go through the world asleep, you cannot see illustrations; but if your minds were thoroughly aroused, and yet you could see nothing else in the world but a single tallow candle, you might find enough illustrations in that luminary to last you for six months.”

Illustrations bring light onto the truth being preached.  You do not want to leave your people in the dark, do you?

Infuse.  I use this word as a way to infuse the power of the Word by the Spirit into the lives of the believers through application.  It’s the ‘so-what’ factor.  “OK, you’re telling me this today—so what?”  Again, this is not taking over for the Holy Spirit.  Whereas the ‘inform’ aspect is about the indicatives, the ‘infuse’ part deals with the ‘imperatives’—the commands.  “Walk worthy of the gospel.”  The Ten Commandments.  “Go, and do likewise.”  These commands are infused via the information and illustrations given.  You then inspire through the Spirit’s work in your heart concerning what God has revealed in Scripture. 

Yes, young preachers have their work cut out for them—but if you have this paradigm before you, it will make the sermon easier on you—and your dear listeners. 

Thoughts?  Do you remember your first sermon?  How have you changed from then until now?

In the meantime, check out this helpful video with Tullian Tchvidijian, Voddie Baucham, and Russ Moore:

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This Blog is for Preachers—A Conference, Search Teams, Guest Preaching, and Awesome Books

Mile High Preaching Conference 2013:  This coming October 25-26, we will be having a Preaching Conference here in Denver.   Why?  After being out here for the last 15 months, I am recognizing this one fact:  Denver and Colorado and the West need preachers of the Gospel—yes, even expositors of the Word!  Trainings for pastors are prevalent east of the Mississippi and south of the Ohio River, but not so much in this part of our country.  When I say that “we” are hosting this, God planted this in the minds of Mark Hallock (pastor of Calvary Church of Englewood, CO) and myself—and it came to light in the aisles of our local LifeWay Stores in Lone Tree. 

So the theme is “Preaching that Engages, Preaching That Endures.”  Our speaker will be Dr. Hershael York, Preaching Professor at theSouthern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY as well as Senior Pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church, Frankfort, KY. He is a gifted preacher and communicator, and has authored an incredibly helpful book, “Preaching With Bold Assurance: A Solid and Enduring Approach to Engaging Exposition.”For more information, contact either Matthew Perry (Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church) Mark Hallock (Pastor of Calvary Church in Englewood).  The cost will be $10 and will be held at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church (but if we have more than 250 sign up, we will pick another venue). 

With this, I would like to share with you a few other helpful blog posts for preachers:

The Four Levels of Scrutiny for Pastoral Search Committees by Thom Rainer.

Preaching that Cuts to the Heart by Tim Keller.

How to Be an Awesome Guest Preacher by H.B. Charles, Jr.

The 10 Books Every Preacher Should Read (2013) by Albert Mohler

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Jesus is Still on the Throne

Back in June 2009, I flew down to Charlotte, NC from Lexington, KY to see my niece graduate from high school. I did not fly regular, but flew standby. If you have never flown standby before, I must tell you that it is wonderful if two things happen: you know someone who has worked at an airline for a considerable amount of time, and that there are enough empty seats on your desired flight.

If you fly standby, ‘buddy passes’ are given by those who work for an airline to their buddies. The flight itself costs nothing, save only the taxes and fees. You reserve the flight you want, show up at the counter, and if there are extra seats no one has purchased, and if you have a pass from a buddy with seniority, you rise higher on the list, giving you a better chance to get on your desired flight.

I had no troubles flying down, even going through Atlanta. I was to fly back Saturday afternoon to make it back in time to preach at Boone’s Creek. But when I went to the Charlotte airport for my 3:30 pm flight, I was #22 out of 31, with only 9 seats available. The 6:00 pm flight was no better–17th out of 28 on the list with only 6 seats available. So, I called a deacon and put him in the bullpen. I had a chance to get on a 6:00 am flight that would put me in Lexington at 10:15, just in time for 11:00 service. It too was full. So, mom and dad drove me back (which is what we should have done in the first place).

The reason I go into this story is to reinforce something we already know: from our vantage point, airports look like pandemonium. From scrambling to unload out front, getting bags checked in, going through security, getting on the flight, then getting off the flight and going to baggage claim–total mayhem.

Until you get to the control tower.

In the control tower, you see there is a method to the madness, a purpose and a plane are in place.

Revelation 4-5 show us the control tower of the universe. While many read Revelation for various reasons, we cannot neglect the context. The Revelation is that of an unveiling, a pealing back of the curtain of heaven. The apostle John, the one who received this revelation, was very, very old. He had seen the rest of his fellow disciples systematically executed by the Roman machine. He himself was on the island of Patmos–5 miles wide and 10 miles long out in the middle of the Mediterranean along with other criminals of the Roman system. He had seen churches have varying degrees of faithfulness. Some stayed faithful, some had gone worldly, some had been lukewarm, apathetic to it all. He began to lose hope.

It was at that point that heaven opened up. John needed to see that all was not lost. Yes, on the ground all seemed to be mayhem, spiraling out of control. God graciously gave John a glimpse into the control tower of the universe.

As we read through this, one word keeps appearing. In fact, in 24 verses, this word shows up 17 times. This word shows us the central object in the entire book of Revelation–and even in the entire universe! It is that of a throne. The Spirit wanted to show Him what would take place–and he brings him to a voice and a throne, and one seated on that throne.

Notice the appearance: He had “the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of emerald” (4:3). Can you picture this? To be honest, me neither. We could go into the ins and outs of what all this could mean, but I believe the point of this is that the picture around the throne is indescribable–this was the best that John could do! But there is more:

Imanating from the throne were flashes of lightning and horrendous peals of thunder. What is John communicating: of all the things we see about God in His Word (his love, mercy, grace, and his wrath against sin), we see that God is a God of splendor and majesty and terror! This is not a politically correct view of God, but our interest is being biblically correct! God is not one to be mocked or trifled with. In fact, the book of Hebrews describes God as a consuming fire.

We also see that there are 24 elders around this throne. Who are they? We can speculate lots. Are they the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles? Why aren’t they identified? Because they are not the point, are they? But we can see what they do: they are clothed in white garments with crowns! There were some in the church at Sardis who, as John writes, “have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (Revelation 3:4). But each of them have crowns on their heads… golden crowns. These represent the clothing and crowns of victory–victory that has been won for them by Christ. And Revelation 4:10 says that in praise they perpetually cast these crowns at his feet. They fall down, submit, and have surrendered! The identity of the elders are not important–especially not to them. What is important is that we know the identity and the person who is important: the one who sits on the throne!!

What about the living creatures? These are of the angelic order of the cherubim, the ones who attend and stand with the King on the throne.

What are they saying about the One on the throne? What they have been singing for all eternity: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Isaiah caught that vision of these angels singing. And we must catch that vision now. He is not only thrice holy, but he is of utmost worth:

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created (Revelation 4:11).

We are seeing the point of these two chapters: to put firmly in our minds that, even though our lives seem chaotic, that our culture is becoming more hostile to Christianity, that more and more of those who call themselves churches and even Christians are denying the truth of Scripture or even the existence of God himself–none of these opinions and authorities has a chance aganst the sovereignty, holiness, and worth of our Lord and God who sits on the throne. He “created all things… by [His] will.”

Revelation 5 brings to our attention a scroll. This scroll has seven seals on it–and where is it? Located in the right hand of the One who sits on the throne. This scroll, as the Word says, had writing on the inside and on the outside. With Roman documents, such as a will or other orders being given to an army, the full directions were given on the inside while the summary of the documents ingredients were on the outside. The seals showed ownership, and could only be broken by someone specific, someone able.

The seven seals will, as you read in Revelation 6, unleash untold devastation upon the earth against those who have chosen to stand against Christ. We must remember that everything on earth is a spiritual warfare. As 1 John 2:15 outlines that unholy trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil that war against the things of the Spirit. It is a second-by-second warfare–and those that shake their fist at their Maker and reject His Son will receive exactly what they ask for. This is a mission that was put in place from the foundation of the world–and the time has come to execute that mission.

So the “strong angel” asked the question of the moment: “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” Here is a great reason why we are introduced to the white robed elders, the four living creatures, and even all of the population of Heaven. They are mighty. They are impressive. They are imposing. But they are not worthy! At this, what did John do?

He wept! Given the information he had, he did not see anyone who could keep this going. Remember in Revelation 4:2, these are things that “must take place.”

Dennis E. Johnson puts it well:

If the scroll stays sealed, the consequences are even more serious than the confusion in the vindication of his servants and the unchallenged establishment of his dominion on earth, as it is in heaven. The angel’s question is … “Who is worthy to carry out God’s plan?” (Triumph of the Lamb, 105).

John wept, but one of the 24 came up and said, “Weep no more!” Why? “The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered so he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” This lion of Judah was told of all the way back in Genesis 49:8-12 who would rule like that lion with strength and fortitude. The root of David comes from Isaiah 11:1-2:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

This One who is worthy is not just mighty, but Almighty. What distinguishes him from every other person not only in heaven, but also on earth is that he has conquered. But conquered what? And why?

He was told to behold, and behold he did. Located between the four living creatures, but among the elders, John saw “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6).

I remember sitting in a Fazoli’s off Man O’War Blvd. in Lexington, Kentucky reading over this passage. This verse really caught my attention because I never noticed this, but when I did, tears came to my eyes. This Lamb, as though it had been slain, was standing. I immediately thought, “Slain lambs don’t stand–yet this One does.” Every other lamb that was offered as a sacrifice for sin were slain, but they did not stand. This one does! This is no ordinary Lamb. But this was part of the conquering!

And he took that scroll! And the sorrow turned to joy! And what was their reaction? Singing! Shouting!

Last Sunday during our Student Led Sunday, Katie Shoun led us in some incredible songs. What uplifted my heart as I sat in the congregation being fed by these songs was that many of you–lots of you–didn’t simply go through the motions, disengaged with what’s going on. It’s easy to do, isn’t it? People can be leading us in worship, and we can have our minds wander, look at the bulletin, look at other people–and be here, but not be here, not engaged at all with what’s going on. The only thing that some of us may be engaged in is the time.

But when we are confronted by the Lamb that was slain, the Root of David, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, we cannot help but sing and shout. We don’t worry about what Sister Sue or Brother Bill thinks about us. When we come across the victory that was secured on our behalf by the Lamb who is ever present and sees everything completely–even seeing us completely–and he still willingly conquered?

What did these 28 sing about?

We have to be very careful about the books that are on the shelves of our bookstores talking about heaven. In fact, there’s a book about a man who spent an hour and a half in heaven (I won’t mention the name of book). I began reading this book, but I confess I stopped after page 35.

Many of the old hymns and choruses I had sung at various times in my life were part of the music — along with hundreds of songs I had never heard before. Hymns of praise, modern-sounding choruses, and ancient chants filled my ears and brought not only a deep peace but the greatest feeling of joy I’ve ever experienced.

As I stood before the gate, I didn’t think of it, but later realized that I didn’t hear such songs as “The Old Rugged Cross” or “The Nail-Scarred Hand.” None of the hymns that filled the air were about Jesus’ sacrifice or death. I heard no sad songs and instinctively knew that there were no sad songs in heaven. Why would there by? All were praises about Christ’s reign as King of Kings and our joyful worship for all he has done for us and how wonderful he is.[1]

I confess, I put the book down and never opened it up again. And even now, books that are out on heaven that are primarily based on an experience that someone had, be it a toddler or a Baptist pastor or anyone else, without looking at it through the litmus test of Scripture I just don’t have time for it all.

Why? First, look at what they all sang and shouted about. It was about victory! It was about what was conquered!

… for you were slain and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, so you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

Look at what the angels shouted in a “loud voice.” Worthy is the Lamb who was slain! This is the basis of his conquering. This is the basis of him being able to take the scroll and accomplish His mission.

And with all due respect to Don Piper’s experience by him saying they weren’t singing sad songs about his death… don’t you believe they who populated heaven knew why they were there? Yes, at the time and even now, it is the greatest miscarriage of justice that ever took place–but it is also the only way that the door of heaven could be opened up to us.

Now the chorus of believers in heaven and on earth shout: “To him who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

So what do we see happening?

First of all, the Christian needs to see that, regardless of what happens on earth–no matter what happens in your family, no matter what the government pronounces, no matter what others may say or do–Jesus is still on the throne! He is not simply working to conquer–the Word says He has conquered. He is not simply mighty, he is Almighty. So when Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body what you will put on. … Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:25, 33)–you now see the vantage point from which he is talking. He is sitting on the throne as the center of the universe.

Secondly, for those of you who have reject Christ to this point, both in your thinking and, ultimately, in your living: Christ was the lamb who was slain, and ransomed “people for God” (Rev. 5:9). Ransomed from what? Ransomed from their captor–ransomed from the sin which enslaves. Ransomed from that sin nature into which we were all born due to Adam. Ransomed the wages of that sin, which is eternal death away from God in a place called hell. Who did he ransom? From every tribe, and language and people and nation. No exclusion with God. No racism with God. No partiality with God. From every people, every geographical location, every societal structure, from the penthouse to the poorhouse–he calls out a people to Himself.

This worthy Lamb was slain. This is the atrocity of our sin! This is the audacity of our sin–thinking that our sins are merely personal choices, but God accepts us as we are. God meets us where we are, to be sure–but He loves enough not to keep us that way.

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Preachers, Be Touched by that Word You Handle

“The preacher who handles the Word must first be touched by that same Word. Doctrinal preaching has an impact within both the cognitive and the emotive sectors. Preaching that leaves the cognitive untouched produces hearers who may leave the sanctuary feeling better but without having been helped by the deep doctrinal truths of the Scriptures. Classical rhetoricians attempted to be holistic in the speech act: enlighten the mind, touch the heart, and move the will. Preaching that avoids head engagement will lead to blindness, and preaching that ignores heart engagement–the emotive realm of the believer’s existence–does so at the cost of boredom and dullness, which prevents the result of an engaged hearing for a transformed life.”

–Dr. Robert Smith, Doctrine That Dances

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Preach the Why, Not Just the What

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” My friend Mark Hallock, pastor at Calvary Church in Englewood, Colorado passed this gem along to be that will prove to help out not just preachers of the Word, but anyone who makes any sort of presentation.

What think ye?

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Preachers, Beware of Appealing to People’s Emotions

John MacArthur preaches from Mark 4:1-20, warning preachers about appealing primarily to people’s emotions and their wills, rather than making an appeal to the mind.  Let the emotions be stirred from a clear teaching of people’s sinful condition before God and preaching Christ and Him crucified and resurrected. 

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Major Announcement from MLJTrust.org: All Sermons Free Beginning Tomorrow

Today, I received an e-mail from the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust  that is such good news that I had to share.  Lloyd-Jones is considered the preeminent preacher of the 20th century.  His book, Preaching & Preachers, was a landmark work in the preaching world but, more personally, in my own life. 

Dear Friend,

This is probably the biggest announcement the MLJ Trust will ever make. Starting from tomorrow, April 12th, all 1,600 recorded sermons by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones will be available to download, at no cost, to anyone who wants to listen to them! There are no exceptions, so the Ephesians sermons, Romans sermons, etc. will all be available (it will take a few days to make sure that they are all included in the library). All one has to do is join the MLJ Library (membership is free of course) and start to download! Simply go to our newly updated site at http://www.mljtrust.org and click on "MLJ Library".

This is a decision that the UK Board has been wrestling with for a long time, because by moving away from the sale of MP3 discs (and tapes before that), which has kept the Recordings Trust in existence for 30 years in God’s grace, they will become completely dependent (as we are in the United States MLJ Trust ministry), on the voluntary donations of brothers and sisters who feel called to support the ministry while downloading sermons.

In the end, however, and after much prayer and discussion, our brothers in the UK felt that as the world of low-cost distribution through the internet was now far reaching enough that most people around the world (even in developing countries) can gain access to this ministry through a computer, and as many other ministries have had a positive experience shifting to a voluntary donation approach to on-line sermons, they felt (as we do) that this change might be in accordance with God’s will.

While there is some nervousness about such a big change, it our our most earnest hope, on both sides of the Atlantic, that this announcment will help us to fulfill the objective that has fueled this ministry since its inception 30 years ago: To preserve, and make as widely available as possible, the doctrinal exposition of God’s word by the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a man who could never quite believe how God had used him for the benefit of the Gospel over his long ministry in the pulpit of Westminster Chapel.

This announcement eMail has been timed to coincide with our formal announcement at "Together for the Gospel". This morning (Wednesday, April 11th), we will be making the announcement on stage to the approximately 7,000+ Christian leaders and teachers who will be attending, and we never forget that the participation of the MLJ Trust at this conference was made possible by the kind support of our subscribers.

To those who have been able to donate to our ministry, we thank you so much. For those who have not had an opportunity, but would like to help us continue funding this ministry, a link to our donations page is at the bottom left of this eMail (Your GeoTrust secured contribution will be processed by Network for Good). As a reminder, the MLJ Trust is 501 (c) (3) charitable consisting of four Board members who volunteer their time, and no staff. You can learn more about us at www.mljtrust.org.

As always, we only want to be sending these eMails to friends of the ministry who want to receive them, and so if you would prefer not to receive them, simply click on the "unsubscribe" link below and you will be removed from this eMail list.

Thank you again for your interest in the Ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones!

Every blessing,

Jonathan Catherwood

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Preachers, Put the Groceries on the Bottom Shelf

Einstein Simply Enough

 

Einstein preaches to preachers with this quote!

Preachers must, as the old expression goes, put the groceries on the bottom shelf.  This does not mean that preachers study less, but actually study more!  In going from knowledge to understanding to wisdom to communicating effectively, the hard work of putting the time in to study is the best way to help your congregation. 

Many young and inexperienced preacher believe that their duty to preach every single scrap of the product of their study and bring that to bear upon their unsuspecting congregation.  Geoffrey Thomas warns us against ‘brain-oriented preaching’:

One of the great perils that face preachers . . .is the constant danger of lapsing into a purely cerebral form of proclamation, which falls exclusively upon the intellect. Men become obsessed with doctrine and end up as brain-oriented preachers. There is consequently a fearful impoverishment in their hearers emotionally, devotionally, and practically. Such pastors are men of books and not men of people; they know the doctrines, but they know nothing of the emotional side of religion. They set little store upon experience or upon constant fellowship and interaction with almighty God. It is one thing to explain the truth of Christianity to men and women; it is another thing to feel the overwhelming power of the sheer loveliness and enthrallment of Jesus Christ and communicate that dynamically to the whole person who listens so that there is a change of such dimensions that he loves Him with all his heart and soul and mind and strength ("Powerful Preaching," chapter 14 in The Preacher and Preaching, edited by Samuel T. Logan, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1986, p. 369. )

This is a constant battle preachers of the Word and pastors of our churches face!  I write this not because I have this battle won, but because it is a reminder that this is a battle I face!  Put the groceries on the bottom shelf so your people in your church, regardless of their advancement in their spiritual walk, may reach and partake!

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