Wednesday, January 02, 2013

No dummies in the pulpit please

Jesus cried out is not about the agonising cry of the Lord from the cross but how He preached.  John gives a summary of His preaching in John 12v44-50 and he begins that summary with this profound statement.  His preaching was filled with passion, with emotion, with heart as well as head.  He wasn't simply delivering a message from God but did so in a manner that was in keeping with solemn, serious, eternally weighted message that He was proclaiming.
In the course of preparing to preach I listen to a multitude of preachers and am increasingly surprised at how many can have all the content but appear to be missing any emotion.  I have preached 1000s of times now myself and I have to say with Baxter of old, "I marvel how I can preach slightly and coldly, how I can let men alone in their sins."
Bruce Milne in his commentary on John writes with wisdom and great balance on this matter, "Preachers with cold hearts will never warm and awaken the consciences of their hearers....False emotionalism and unrealistic dramatization of the message do not honour God and tend only to alienate non Christians further.  But there is a true engagement of the heart in preaching... which is stamped with sincerity and which is an authentic reflection of the heart of the God whose gospel we proclaim.  God is looking today for preachers who, like His Son, will cry out."

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