SITE NOTICE | MORE..Christian Heritage Collection -- Update! A new portrait has been added to our collection -- Pierre Viret! A collection of original art celebrating the history and heritage of the Christian church. .. click for more info!
The Role Of The Preacher & The Nature Of Preaching
Charles H. Spurgeon
Preach not calmly and quietly as though you were asleep, but preach with fire and pathos and passion.
Our ministry must be emphatic, or it will never affect these thoughtless times; and to this end our hearts must be habitually fervent, and our whole nature must be fired with an all-consuming passion for the glory of God and the good of men.
Unless we have the spirit of the prophets resting upon us, the mantle which we wear is nothing but a rough garment to deceive. We ought to be driven forth with abhorrence from the society of honest men for daring to speak in the name of the Lord if the Spirit of God rests not upon us.
Would ministers preach for eternity! They would then act the part of true Christian orators, and not only calmly and cooly inform the understanding, but, by persuasive, pathetic address, endeavour to move the affections and warm the heart.
(The pastor is) to work upon the will and the affections and by savoury, powerful and affectionate application of the truth delivered, to chase it into the heart, to woo and win the soul to the love and liking, the approbation and practice of the doctrine which is according to godliness.
There are too many persons who have imbibed and propagate this notion, that it is almost the only business of a preacher to teach the necessary doctrines and duties of our holy religion by a mere explication of the Word of God, without enforcing these things on the conscience by a pathetic address to the heart.
Screw the truth into men's minds.
Puritan preaching wooed the heart passionately. It was affectionate, zealous and optimistic. It is unusual today to find a ministry which both feeds the mind with solid biblical substance and moves the heart with affectionate warmth, but this was commonplace with the Puritans.
If there is no controversy in your ministry, there is probably very little content in your preaching.
James Montgomery Boice
Preaching is the primary means of growth for the local church. There is a great deal of debate about this in our day, but it is the preaching of the Word that God most uses to build up a church, not only numerically but above all (and far more importantly) in spiritual depth and understanding of the people who make up the congregation.
All Christian preaching should be the exposition and application of biblical texts. Our authority as preachers sent by God rises and falls with our manifest allegiance to the text of Scripture.
Lack of intensity in preaching can only communicate that the preacher has never been seriously gripped by the reality of which he speaks - or that the subject matter is insignificant.
We see "the pulpit as the place where the opening up of the scriptures takes place. Our conviction is that, from the pulpits of our country, we are not to hear the bright ideas of men, not their rambling thoughts, not their theorizing or speculation. We assume that the pulpit is not a place for slogans or manipulations, not the place for tall stories and emotionalism. But it is a place for spirit filled, Christ exalting, Bible based, life impacting instruction and direction from God, through the words of a spokesman which impresses upon the listeners the power of the text and not the performance of the preacher."
What about the role of the preacher of God's Word? If you are looking for a good church, this is the most important thing to consider. I don't care how friendly you think the church members are. I don't care how good you think the music is. . . . The congregation's commitment to the centrality of the Word coming from . . . the preacher, the one specially gifted by God and called to that ministry, is the most important thing you can look for in a church. . . .
Preachers are not called to preach what's popular according to the polls . . . People already know all that. What life does that bring? We're not called to preach merely moral exhortations or history lessons or social commentaries . . . We are called to preach the Word of God to the church of God and to everyone in His creation. This is how God brings life. Each person . . . is flawed and has faults and has sinned against God. And the terrible thing about our fallen natures is that we are greedy for ways to justify our sins against God. Every single one of us wants to know how we can defend ourselves from God's charges. Therefore we are in desperate need to hear God's Word brought honestly to us, so that we don't just hear what we want to hear but rather what God has actually said.
All of this is important . . . because God's Holy Spirit creates His people by His Word.
This is why Paul told Timothy to "form a committee." Right? Of course not! . . . "Take a survey"? No! . . . "Spend yourself in visiting"? No! . . . "Read a book"? No! Paul never told young Timothy to do any of those things.
Paul told Timothy, straight and clear, to "Preach the Word" (2 Tim. 4:2). This is the great imperative. This is why the apostles earlier had determined that, even thought there were problems with the equitable distribution of financial aid in Jerusalem, the church would just have to find others to solve their problems, because, "We . . . will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word" (Acts 6:4). Why this priority? Because this Word is "the word of life" (Phil. 2:16). That is the great task of the preacher: to "hold out the word of life" to people who need it for their souls.
It is the Word of God which the Spirit uses to save and sanctify. This is so simple: the Spirit uses the Word! If pastors won't submit to the Word of God, what will they submit to?
When a man steps into the pulpit more interested in telling us about his week so that he can "relate" to his people - he is not preaching the Word. When a man seeks to be funny behind the sacred desk rather than faithful with the text - he is not preaching the Word. When a man claims to have a "word from the Lord" a part from the divine revelation of Scripture - he is deceived and is not preaching the Word. When a man designs his sermons to attract a target audience, appeal to the culture, and has as its primary goal a thirst to be relevent - he is not preaching the Word. When a man strives to change the world through politics, representing America as the new Israel, seeking to bring a societal morality through legislation, and honors the flag equally with the cross - he is not preaching the Word. When a man fails to tremble at God's Word privately before ever preaching it publicly - he is not preaching the Word. And when a man treats the pages of holy writ with a cavalier, seeker-friendly, watered down, cream of wheat irrevernce - he is not preaching the Word. Better for that man to become a game show host, than represent himself as a "servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries God."