Sunday, November 24, 2013

WHY PREACHING MUST BE SIMPLE

One of the greatest temptations for preachers is to speak high and haughty words in the pulpit that unlearned folk are unable to understand. Flowery words and lofty concepts may astonish the congregation’s mind but they don’t feed their needy souls.

There is something about the nature of man that desires to be praised. It is as if we instinctively seek the glory of our fellow men. And many times we feel we must speak in such a manner so as to attract attention to ourselves and to gain public approval as deep thinkers or top notch theologians. But this- my friends- is not the Gospel way.

Paul may have been an academic giant; but he veiled his learning every time he stood up to preach in God’s name. His knowledge was always there- of course it was- but he spoke in such a way so that all could understand him. He didn’t long to be lauded; he craved to be comprehended. Thus he translated his vast erudition into simple discourses that even simple slaves could mull over. His theology was practical with a capital ‘P’.

Luther brought the same style of preaching back into vogue during the Protestant Reformation. Rather than rhyming off mind-blowing messages in the Latin tongue to the forty something doctors and magistrates that attended his church (which he very well could have done had he so desired), Luther proclaimed the Word of God both plainly and powerfully in the most down-to-earth manner imaginable to the two thousand young people, children and servants that fed off his every word. Luther remarked, “An upright, godly and true preacher should direct his preaching to the poor, simple sort of people, like a mother that stills her child, dawdles and plays with it, presenting it with milk from her own breast.” It was such unpretentious preaching that ultimately turned Medieval Europe upside down.

A preacher, then, is to be moved for the welfare of God’s people. His goal must be the edification of the church; not the exaltation of his own ego.  The truly God-honouring messenger will feel God’s heart beat when he steps into the pulpit and, rather than aiming at getting applause from men, he will labour to convey Gospel truth in modest terms so that Scripture is driven home into hungry hearts and minds. Simple preaching is powerful preaching.


-Will Graham

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