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Discussion in 'Preaching' started by Edwards, Sep 4, 2017.
We'd best be careful. Dabney is not a politically correct figure these days.
Right. Well, if one wants to be a politician, then dont read Dabney. But if one wants to be a good preacher, he's required.
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I appreciate the concern for the theological development of the church, and have been known to take a break from exposition in between books perhaps, or even smack in the middle if it seems edifying, to preach out of a catechism, using the key verse as the primary text. I will also reference a catechism question in the doctrinal portion of the preaching when appropriate.
Indeed. I hope some "progressive" guys at least read him secretly-- in their studies with only the flashlight of their smartphone as light. LOL. The man was a giant of a theologian. He and Thornwell, and the Hodges, and Warfield et al would simply tower over anyone alive today at any General Assembly or Synod. He's met his Maker. The PC crowd should just leave him alone.
I've been wanting to spend a few years preaching through the Larger Catechism, taking appropriate breaks with strict book and chapter preaching. The LC on the Law of God is unsurpassed; no other document even comes close.
T. David is a personal friend and colleague of mine up here in Ascension. The background of his book is somewhat amusing--but you'll not hear the details from me! His book on hymns, critiquing contemporary worship, is also quite excellent.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones is rightly regarded as the "Prince of Preachers" alongside Spurgeon. One can learn from the greatest of preachers even when one may disagree on the odd point.
I think the new DVD series Lloyd-Jones "Logic on fire" captures this nicely. Lloyd-Jones legacy in preaching was twofold:
1. He had an amazing ability to logically analyse truth - one can hear him preach and say this logically flows
2. He showed - in the best Jonathan Edwards tradition - that when preaching is done in the power of the Holy Spirit, people are gripped by the message and lives are changed. Lloyd-Jones impact on the church and her preaching was immense.
Just making sure you "Perkens" up your love for Puritan preaching
This is a very good comparrison. MLJ and Spurgeon had more similarities than not. Both deserve the title Prince of Preachers.
I own everything MLJ ever wrote or preached and years ago studied it all. While at RTS in the early 90s, I listened to most of his sermons everyday during workstudy.
I inherited all of Spurgeon's sermons from my grandfather. MT and PSP and read volumes of Spurgeon.
I would classify neither as mainly expository, and say, having read so much of them, that they were both flowery in their preaching.
I think in their respective times, and in their respective places, they were used of God.
Neither were even remotely the calibur of a Jonathan Edwards, a King of Preachers, (in whose expository preaching style was used in the Great Awakening and revivals of religion). Neither are in that class, nor in a class of men like Perkins, Manton, Mead, Goodwin, Burroughs, etc. Though, oddly, both Spurgeon and MLJ read the puritans widely.
One wonders why Spurgeon and MLJ style of preaching didn't more resemble the ones they read in an expository manner.
(Keeping in mind 1 Cor. 3:21)
(And keep in mind we are talking about solid manuals for preaching.)
Given the topic I did not want to sidetrack this, but I don't think some of the comments about Martyn Lloyd-Jones are accurate.
I have listened to MLJ sermons for over 20 years, read many of his sermon books. I have read Iain Murray's 2 vol biography many times (still one of my favourites) and listened to the DVD series MLJ "Logic on fire" many times. I have personally met a number of MLJ's close friends and heard his biographer Iain Murray preach in my city. I have also talked to many people from a number of countries who heard the Doctor preach.
I think you might be confusing his written sermons with the actual preaching recordings. MLJ acknowledged that preaching does not easily translate to print. I find MLJ significantly more logical, more analytical than Spurgeon. The only flowery thing I notice about MLJ was his love of TULIP
With MLJ's extended expositions of John, Romans, Ephesians, Acts, exegetical and logical precision, its clear MLJ was an expositary preacher. Iain Murray is very convincing on this in his biography, also his recent book "MLJ Messanger of grace"
I remain unconvinced:
1. MLJ had a brilliant mind of the very best of men. He trained at the best medical school in London and could diagnose medical patients better than his tutor Sir Thomas Hoarder. Iain Murray said MLJ had a mind that could "drive multiple turbines". A close friend of mine is a medical researcher in a leading medical company. She told me that MLJ completed a medical degree and a PhD and did all this in the time it would take an ordinary doctor to do a medical degree. Further she said his research he did (in the 1920's) was so good it is still cited in medical literature today.
2. Many leading pastors today have paid tribute to MLJ extraordinary spiritual gifts. Sproal said he is a Titan (= a giant) of the christian ministry. MacArthur said he will go in history as one of the greatest preachers of all time. Many similar comments at https://www.mljtrust.org/endorsements/
3. MLJ could hold an audience "spellbound" and totally gripped by the message to the extent they forgot time and their surroundings and were gripped, blessed, and humbled by the message. They thought they were in heaven! I have personally talked to people who were impacted by MLJ's preaching in this way. A man who preaches like this is a 'manual for preaching'. I am not convinced that Edwards, great man as he was, did preach like that (and I LOVE Edwards sermons).
4. Carricks book "The preaching of Jonathan Edwards" argues that Edwards was not the model pastor in terms of pastoral care. He was aloof, a gifted academic. I think this was part of the reason why he was tragically removed from his pulpit. MLJ was exceptionally gifted at pastoral care. He was the model pastor here. His biography (chapter on pastoral counselling) is excellent here. His medical knowledge, spiritual wisdom, theological knowledge, and giftedness with people all explain his ability to pastorally counsel people and earn their trust too.
5. MLJ was also a model pastor in how he taught and counselled other pastors both in the Westminster Fellowship and in private help he gave to pastors. Hywell Jones in his chapter in the book "MLJ Chosen by God" argues that MLJ well taught pastors in all key areas of pastoral work. He said it was better than seminary training!
However your final point is true re 1 Cor 3:21. Calvin is not Whitefield. Bavinck is not Perkins etc etc. All men of God have gifts. I regard MLJ as the greatest of 'overall' pastors but yet acknowledge he did not write a 'Reformed Dogmatics' like Bavinck or Vos.
D. A. Carson, in his New Testament Commentary Survey, says that Lloyd-Jones can be profitable to learn from, but only if you read very quickly (Lloyd-Jones could be quite verbose). Carson did add, however, that Lloyd-Jones often gives material that would be hard to find anywhere else.
John MacArthur once said that, as the years pass, he uses fewer and fewer illustrations in his sermons and, when he does use them, they tend to come from Scripture, not from "outside."
Grateful thanks for the helpful insight regarding preaching!! Very helpful and all the comments help me clarify where to go to for resources. With much appreciation to all
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