The Battle of the Pulpit

Greg Haslam’s opening chapter of Preach the Word has been my food for thought in these days.  He writes about the battle raging over the pulpit.  Since the church expands primarily through preaching, the enemy will obviously target this part of the ministry.  So we have a barrage of popular opinion that people can’t concentrate on the spoken word any more, that they need entertainment and fun.  In response, so much preaching is like firing corks from a pop-gun, or endless repeaters from paintball guns – lots of smoke, but no fire.

Here are John Stott’s words quoted to energize the preacher:

“In preaching, God is bringing to each person’s notice what holy Scripture has made publicly and permanently available, so that His timeless word comes to timely announcement, so that people believe the message and commit to the Saviour it announces.”

Earlier Haslam points out that the term homiletics can carry the sense of saying the same thing as something outside of yourself.  So?  So through preaching “we should be saying the same thing that God would say in a given situation.”

Later in the chapter he quotes William Willimon in respect to preaching, “Call it a burden, call it a privilege, a duty.  You know that it is worthy of your best talents, worthy of a lifetime’s labour and dedication.  On any Sunday you can give it your all and still know that the Word deserves more.  It is no small task that the Church has set upon your shoulders.  Being called to preach the gospel, you can do no more than to promise as long as you have breath and there is someone to listen, then by God’s grace you will give them the Word.”

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