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The Preacher And The Pulpit

 

J. Wilbur Chapman

J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1917) delivered a message to preachers at the beginning of the 20th century. He was concerned by the critics of preaching as well as the lack of authority and power that was flowing from pulpit messages. The following excerpt from Chapman’s message is as relevant today as it was then:

[W]e must have a message to preach, not for the sake of preaching, but for the sake of convincing men of their sins, as the Spirit of God may lead us. When asked one day his opinion regarding sermons of ministers, Hon. William J. Bryan said:

“I desire my minister to preach every Sabbath the simple gospel. The old, old story never wearies the average congregation, if it comes from a devout mind with preparation in the message. My ideal sermon is one which has an appeal to the unconverted and a spiritual uplift for the Christian. I want my minister to be abreast of the times on all new theological questions and research, but I do not want him to bring them into the pulpit. I have formed certain fixed views of Christ, His gospel, and the inspiration of the Bible from a careful reading of that Book of books and of the Shorter Catechism, and it will not make me a better Christian or profit my spiritual life to unsettle these views by a discussion in the pulpit of new theories of Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Finally, I want my minister to act on the belief that Christ’s gospel is the surest cure of all social and political evils, and that his best method of promoting temperance, social morality, and good citizenship, is to bring men into the Church. In a word, I want my minister to emphasize in the lifework the declaration of the most successful preacher, Paul: “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

[W]e must have an unwavering conviction that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. If we give any evidence of uncertainty at this point, the message we deliver will scarcely be received with enthusiasm, and it is inconceivable that it could be delivered with very much power. . . .

When one is filled with the Word of God, when he loves it, when it profoundly moves him, every one with whom he comes in contact will take knowledge of him that he has been with Jesus, and whether he is in the pulpit or out of it, he will have power. . . .

It is a sad thing that it should ever be said of the minister that in his preaching, Christ is not presented. I am persuaded that those in the pulpit who forget Him are few in number as compared with the great army of preachers who sincerely love Jesus Christ with all their hearts. Then it should not be forgotten that the way must not be made too easy. General Booth says the chief dangers in the twentieth century are: “Religion without the Holy Spirit; Christianity without Christ; Forgiveness without Repentance; Salvation without Regeneration; Politics without God, and Heaven without Hell.” (“The Waning Pulpit”)

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2 Responses

  1. […] The Preacher And The Pulpit (via Samuel at Gilgal) Posted on August 14, 2011 by loopyloo305   J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1917) delivered a message to preachers at the beginning of the 20th century. He was concerned by the critics of preaching as well as the lack of authority and power that was flowing from pulpit messages. The following excerpt from Chapman’s message is as relevant today as it was then: [W]e must have a message to prea … Read More […]

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  2. […] The Preacher And The Pulpit (via Samuel at Gilgal)   J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1917) delivered a message to preachers at the beginning of the 20th century. He was concerned by the critics of preaching as well as the lack of authority and power that was flowing from pulpit messages. The following excerpt from Chapman’s message is as relevant today as it was then: [W]e must have a message to prea … Read More […]

    Like

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