And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. - Ephesians 4:30-31
Belief in Preaching
In his classic book Power in Preaching, W.E. Sangster talks about why preachers often seem to lose the power they once felt in the pulpit. One of the most important things a preacher can do, Sangster insists, is to actually believe in preaching. He observes:
"Grasp the fact that the heart of the Gospel is a meeting of God and man, and preaching provides the best medium for that meeting. Many people - many preachers even - find this hard to believe. They believe the Gospel and they believe that it must be proclaimed. What they cannot believe is that there is anything sacrosanct in preaching as the method of proclamation. St. Paul, of course, said that ‘it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe' but printing was not invented then, nor the cinema, nor wireless [radio], nor television - and even the drama was in a primitive form. They have come to believe that there are better ways of proclaiming the Gospel than by preaching...
"And who can deny some force in this? A thousand will look at television for every ten who go to church. People love a ‘show,' and if the show can be sanctified and do the work, need we worry by what road the wanderers travel so long as they travel home?
"Now all this is plausible, but it is not convincing to those who know the nature of the Gospel. That God uses these ancillary methods we do not deny, but we maintain that preaching is primary in the purpose of God. ‘It was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of preaching...' It is God's good pleasure still.
"It does not turn on what the people like but on what He likes. It is not a question of our particular gifts but of the divine intention. As DR. H.H. Farmer says: ‘The activity of preaching is not merely a means for conveying the content of the Christian faith, but it is in a real sense bound up with that content itself.' ‘The necessity of preaching resides in the fact that when God saves a man through Christ he insists on a living, personal encounter with him here and now in the sphere of present personal relationships.'"
Today’s Pastoral Resource...
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