What do you mean by "good preacher?"

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by SolaScriptura, Nov 2, 2012.

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  1. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    I am curious to get the personal opinions of PBers on these questions:

    What do you mean when you say that someone is a "good preacher?"

    Is this different than saying that someone is a "faithful preacher?"

    If so, how? If not, why not?
  2. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    Good preacher-preaches the Word of God, preaches it in light of proper hermeneutics, preaches a proper distinction between law and gospel yet preaches both, concentrates on a doctrinal rather than a practical understanding of the texts (not saying that there is no application whatsoever, but if you read the early Reformed works, application was almost always a footnote to doctrinal emphasis), and does so with passion yet not in such a way as to emotionally manipulate a congregation.
  3. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    If I say that someone is a good preacher, I am referring to his gifting and abilities as a communicator. He may or may not be faithful. For example, I would say that Voddie Baucham (as a random example) is a good and faithful preacher, whereas T.D. Jakes is a good preacher but by no means a faithful man of God. There are dear men who are faithful preachers but put me to sleep, and I would be disinclined to call them good preachers.
  4. Supersillymanable

    Supersillymanable Puritan Board Freshman

    It's interesting hearing what others think when they say good preacher... For me, I would never call a preacher "good", if they were not a skilled communicator, as well as faithful to the word...

    J. Dean, why would you like them to focus on doctrine and not practical application? I find I need both often. Though I would want it weighted more with Doctrine, as, if the underlying principles are faulty, the practise will be also...
  5. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    Very rarely do I read anything Andrew writes and disagree; but, I think a Preacher cannot be labeled "good" without also being faithful. That doesn't mean he has to be in full agreement with the Westminster Standards for me to consider him good, but he should be a faithful Minister of the true gospel of Jesus Christ and preach repentance and faith in Him. John Piper is a good Preacher (John Piper is actually a great Preacher!) but T.D. Jakes is not because he isn't really a Preacher at all. The Arminian Pastor who first led me to take faith in Jesus seriously and walk with the Lord is a good Preacher, but someone who is communicating lies about Jesus is not.
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree with Zach. To me a good preacher is someone who faithfully and consistently opens up the Word of God to his listeners. Someone who is Christ-centered and applies solid hermeneutics. If someone teaches poor doctrine, I do not consider them a good preacher. That automatically disqualifies them in my mind.
  7. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Good... Good!

    Keep it coming!
  8. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    When I say someone is a good preacher, I mean that their sermons are not merely Bible studies, though they may be theologically sound, but are exhortative.
  9. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    This is interesting.....In the main Evangelical circles I came from, without a robust Harmatology, Soteriology, & Ecclesiology, all sorts of delivery tactics and schemes rule the day because, whether spoken or not, the Word preached superintended by the Holy Ghost is just not enough..... A good preacher is not the guy who yells the loudest!
  10. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    A good preacher holds forth Christ to the people, turning up their hearts to them in the light of the gospel, speaking from his own broken heart, and convincing them of Jesus as their only need and remedy for their sin. Such a preacher invites them to look away from all that they are and have and do and to look to Jesus and to Him alone. A good preacher recognizes that only the Spirit who gave the Word can illumine eyes to see it and move hearts to receive it and live it.

    A good preacher does not fail to turn up your heart to you (in the preaching of the law) but this is not his ultimate goal. Much of what goes by the name of "experimental" or "experiential" preaching has too much of this this as goal: to undeceive and cause you to question your good estate. This is never the ultimate goal of preaching but always and only to plead with men to trust Christ and repent of their sin. This is the case even in the most practical of sermons.

    On the other hand, the sermon is not a theological lecture. It contains teaching, to be sure, but is always more than teaching. Again, it contains the proper balance between the decrees of God and outworking of such in the redemption accomplished by Christ and applied by the Spirit. A good sermon should make us hunger and thirst for righteousness--like our mouths water in hearing about (or smelling) delicious food--and should mean that we are satisfied with nothing less than Christ, with feeding upon Him who is our Savior.

    A good sermon is something sometimes hard to describe in all of its wonder but you know it when you hear it, and are moved by it, to follow the Lord Jesus more closely. A good preacher is one who preaches thusly.

  11. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    I'll go with the good/faithful distinction, with 'good' speaking to skills and 'faithful' speaking to content. A man can be quite faithful, but so unskilled in delivery that the message doesn't get across. It's hard to edify people who are asleep , or have their fingers in their ears to block out the screaming rant.

    A man who is both faithful and good is to be treasured. A man who is good but not faithful is quite dangerous. And a man who is faithful but not good should be mentored toward either skill improvement, or guided to a ministry where he can accomplish something.
  12. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    1. Faithful in life and in what he speaks
    2. Faithful to the careful exegesis of God's word
    3. Recognizes his total dependence on the work of the Holy Spirit in his own life and the heart and mind of his listener
    4. Has deep, pastoral concern dripping off of every phrase

    Quite frankly, these things will trump expert oratory skills every time. I might enjoy a skillful turn of phrase or the ability to bring a quick laugh, but in the long term, these things will never be sustaining if the first four aren't in place.
  13. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    This is great stuff, guys! Keep it coming.
  14. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I think what you mean is that T.D. Jakes is a good speaker. He has excellent oratory skills and has the ability to hold the attention of an audience. That being said, he is not a good preacher because he teaches a false gospel. The first and primary calling of a preacher is to proclaim the whole truth of God's word. Any preacher who does this is a good preacher. If a preacher does this, and he is also an excellent speaker who can hold the attention of an audience, then he is a great preacher.
  15. JohnGill

    JohnGill Puritan Board Senior

    For me they are synonyms. I cannot divorce the two. A "good preacher", to me, is by definition a "faithful preacher". If he's unfaithful, then he is not good.

    As to how I define the term, exegetical preaching over eisegesis, doctrine over 1-2-3-application, reason over emotion, no guilt manipulation attempts. Expository preaching vs other types. I believe, and have experienced, expository preaching can move one to tears, but I believe it is an effect of faithful preaching and the working of the Holy Ghost. This differs from the Charles Finney type preaching which uses guilt manipulation techniques. I guess the best example of what I mean would be the difference between Joel Beeke, Joe Morecraft, John Greer, Greg Bahnsen, Ken Gentry, Gregory Barkman, Jeff Massey, et al vs John R. Rice, Jack Hyles, Lester Roloff, Jack Schaap, et al.

    I've heard good preacher's who, to me, were "boring" in their style, yet they kept my attention because of what they preached. Not sure if "boring" is the best descriptor.
  16. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    Not to side track , but was this fueled the preaching position you were offered? Those men and women need to hear God's word faithfully brought to them.
  17. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    No it wasn't fueled by that offer.

    Next week the installation chaplain is doing a training session on how to preach "better," and he gave us a questionaire asking our opinion of what we think "good preaching" is, and I thought I'd get the opinion of others here.
  18. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    If I say "good preacher" I mean he is interesting, captivating, and faithful to the word and able to bring things to light that I couldn't get on my own. I don't make a distinction between good and faithful preachers, but I may say that someone is a good shepherd even if he isn't the best (ie, most talented) preacher.
  19. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    This does seem to me like the most important thing in a preacher. What is a fairly worthless human being (no offense intended: we are all fairly worthless) supposed to be doing in that office, but lifting up Christ?
  20. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    The truth is, I am often not consistent with my own definition given above. It invariably depends on the context, and I never give the impression that I approve of a false teacher, regardless of how I might admire his communication abilities.
  21. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Qualities of a good Preacher.
    "A good preacher," said Luther, "should have these properties and virtues:
    First, To preach orderly.
    Secondly, He should have a ready wit.
    Thirdly, He should be eloquent.
    Fourthly, He should have a good voice.
    Fifthly, A good remembrance.
    Sixthly, He should know when to make an end.
    Seventhly, He should be sure of his things.
    Eighthly, He should venture and engage body and blood, wealth and honour, by the word.
    Ninthly, He should suffer himself to be mocked and buffeted of every one."
  22. gls3ms

    gls3ms Puritan Board Freshman

    Great answers men. I think Ben is getting what he wanted. The term "good preacher" obviously holds a different context with everyone, which I think is why the question was asked. You could take it a step further and ask if a good preacher and good pastor the same??? Can a man be a good preacher but not a good pastor. We all have precieved concepts of these terms based on our own understanding , which we are not to lean on. I have my own personal idea of what a "good preacher" is but ultimately, if I get real honest with myself I have to go through the bible for the most solid definition. But the question was not what the bible says is a "good preacher" but what do we mean when we say good preacher. So the answer should be how you personally precieve the term. This leaves room for many different answers which we have.

    For me personally I don't think of people like RC Sproll as preachers was much is I think of them as awsome teachers. Now Paul Washer is a different story. He in my use of the term is a good preacher. To me allot of teachers, and pastors are referred to as preachers. When I think of my own idea of preacher I think of a deeply convicting, sometimes loud, passionate, authoritative, presence, kind of guy that rightly handles the word.

    Again that is my own preception of the term not the hermanutical definition.
  23. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    No, but I'm not going to name names on this one.
  24. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Now that many have been kind enough to provide their personal opinion as to what they mean when they use the call someone a "good preacher," I'll go ahead and share my personal opinion.

    I appreciate that Matthew posted Luther's "criteria," because it adds a bit of credibility to my belief that when most people call someone a "good preacher" they are referring primarily to speaking ability, though some other considerations factor in as well. Of course, when we stop and think about it, we don't want to call someone a "good preacher" who is not also a faithful expositor. And I'm in agreement. But I do nonetheless believe that "good preaching" in large part refers to the various components of being a good speaker.

    I employ terms like "accurate" or "faithful" to denote one's conformity to biblical and confessional teaching.

    Since it was added as a subsequent question, I'll say that I believe that one can be a good preacher without being a good pastor. Likewise, one can be a good pastor even if he is not a very good preacher.
  25. Irish Presbyterian

    Irish Presbyterian Puritan Board Freshman

    A good preacher is someone who first and foremost preaches the Word (2 Tim 4:2).

    Too often I have encountered something that Kent Hughes calls 'dis-exposition' which amounts to reading a passage that is virtually ignored for the rest of the sermon as the preacher leaps straight to predetermined points of application. Hughes' article is worth checking out.

  26. Caroline

    Caroline Puritan Board Sophomore

    I would say (as others here have said) that a good preacher is a man with good communication skills and a good knowledge of and ability to communicate and explain the Word. 'Not a good preacher' in my mind is anyone who misquotes the Bible or yells his whole sermon. Also on the 'not a good preacher' list is anyone who uses sermon time to brag about himself or to communicate his own pet peeves.
  27. TexanRose

    TexanRose Puritan Board Sophomore

    A good preacher is an evangelical preacher.
  28. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    A Good Preacher preaches "God's Word" with love, clarity, boldness, authority, zeal, faith, humility, and probably some other things. A Good Preacher does not preach "about God's Word".
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  29. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    A good book can be be tattered, wrinkled, dog eared, and marked up. It is the substance of the writing, and the effect it has on the reader, that makes it good. A good preacher may tattered in the sense that he recognizes his own sinfulness and is therefore not far removed from those he is preaching to. He is wrinkled in that he has the miles of experience, failure, and the grace of restoration in his own life. He is dog eared by the continual personal application of the Word of God. He is marked up - underlined and highlighted - by the Gospel. Christ so permeates his life that He binds all parts together. Lastly, the effect on the reader, the hearer, is to be presented with the Word of God that is able to move individuals towards repentance and action. The finished package is clearly a bruised and human instrument made able and effective by the Holy Spirit.
  30. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Jonathan Edwards appeared to address all of his sermons to the bell pull at the back of the church. Geerhardus Vos was said to be practically unintelligible. I look forward to hearing both men preach in the new earth!
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