Contemporary Sermons – Ironside

Wiersbe’s brief five-page biography of H.A.Ironside is an enjoyable read.  He writes of the man’s passion for the Word, passion for souls, personal spirituality, and deeply valued ministry.  I like this brief section:

Some have criticized Ironside for preaching through Bible books instead of preaching “more contemporary messages” in such a strategic pulpit.  But time, I think, has vindicated his ministry.  His expositions are as fresh and meaningful today as when they were preached.  I have many books of “contemporary sermons” in my library, and they read like old newspapers in comparison.

It is easy to pit one against the other, but surely our goal should be expository preaching of the Word of God.  By definition this should include a sense of contemporary application since we preach to specific people at a certain time.  Yet too often we fall into one or the other approaches.  If you can’t figure out how to combine both effectively with the Bible pre-eminent, then just preach the Bible, I suppose!

Let me just quote Wiersbe again, his final comments on Ironside:

Ironside was not a dazzling preacher; he did not aim to be sensational.  He stepped into the pulpit with exclamation points, not question marks.  A generation of preachers that has tried every gimmick available to get people’s attention would do well to become acquainted with Harry Ironside and to learn afresh the meaning of living by faith and preaching the Word of God in simplicity and love.

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