Thoughts on Preaching

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by JOwen, Jan 7, 2005.

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  1. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Lloyd-Jones once said, "œI will tell you what preaching is by first telling you what preaching is not". This, we must all admit, demonstrates that one of the greatest preachers of the last century (if not the greatest) knew that preaching was, at least in part, an elusive subject. He taught that a sermon is not preaching. A sermon is the outline from which preaching comes or the scaffolding by which the building is erected. It is not the building itself. So how does one preach? I dare say it there are as many ways as there are preachers. We might even say of preachers as Paul did of the resurrected body, "œThere is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. "

    For the past three and a half years(as a Student Minister) I have had the great pleasure of being Stated Pulpit Supply for the Free Church of Scotland (Edmonton) as well as the Associated Presbyterian Church (Vancouver). This hands-on approach of preaching while studying for the ministry has been both a challenge and a delight. One thing that I have learned in my short but intense study on preaching is there are no pat answers as to what preaching is, no single method that works well for everyone. No, each man must find his own way, his own style, and his own method...alone. If crafting a sermon is an art (as some have suggested), then so is preaching. And no two artists are alike. Sure, they have learned the same elements of art by studying other artists, but their creations are altogethers unique, reflecting their personal ability and gifting.

    And there is no accounting for taste! Some souls are deeply moved by the bombastic style of an Albert Martin or Ian Paisley, while others profoundly affected by the soft tones of a Sinclair Ferguson or Joel Beeke. Who is to say who the better preacher is? Is it not the subjective ear of the hearer? Criticism, I have learned, often amounts to an intangible element of style not substance. Now genuine objective criticism should always be
    welcome by others in the ministry (and seasoned Chrisrtians), but given in knowledge instead of personal, intangible preferences.

    Spurgeon once said,

    "œThere are multitudes of men who always quarrel with any kind of ministry that God may send to them. This man´s style is much too florid; he has a superabundance of the flowers of oratory. That other man is much too dull; there is nothing interesting about his discourses. This man is too coarse; he is so rough as even to be vulgar. That other man is too refined, and uses language which shoots over people´s heads. It is easy to find fault when you want to do so."

    He goes on to say, "œAny stick will do to beat a dog, and any kind of excuse will do to allow your conscience to escape from the message of an earnest ministry." May this not be true for any of us.

    Lloyd-Jones said that preachers are born not made. I agree with him. At the same time I have come to recognize that there are things we can do to improve ourselves, to make our giftings more useful. Listening, reading, and studying the sermons of great preachers, praying for an earnest ministry, and actually preaching, are three of the most useful. And realizing that God has made each preacher different, in degree, abillity, and kind will keep us looking to the Holy Spirit, the greatest Preacher of them all for His message no matter who
    delivers the sermon.


    Kind regards,
  2. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

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