Preachers know that their preaching needs to to expound Scripture accurately and clearly, communicate with the audience in an engaging and structured manner and apply its message to those present. There are plenty of good materials available to help preachers in developing these skills, for which we should be very thankful.
There is, however, one vital element in preaching which can be neglected in our desire to improve our abilities. That element is faith.
John Newton wrote a very helpful letter on the vexed question of guidance - how does the Lord direct us in daily life? What kind of guidance can we expect to receive from God for the decisions we have to make?
A UKIP leaflet has just come through our door, urging us to vote for them in the forthcoming European elections. The party's main concern seems to be immigration - that Britain is being harmed because too many foreigners are coming into the country.
Putting aside economic, social, legal, patriotic and other arguments for one moment (on all of which, by the way, I suspect that I disagree strongly with UKIP), in what ways would a restrictive immigration policy help the gospel? I really can't think of any.
William Hendriksen's NT commentaries are, I think, not so popular as they once were, probably because there are now so many good NT commentaries written from a conservative evangelical perspective with up to date scholarly comment. Perhaps Hendriksen is considered to be insufficiently scholarly. The great advantage that his books have over many others, however, is the wealth of references to other, relevant parts of Scripture. Many commentators today, even the most conservative, appear to be shy about referring to parts of the Bible that their author would not have known.
Apparently, clergy come top of a government job satisfaction survey, as reported today. With an average salary of just over £20K, they experience (says the survey) the highest level of satisfaction of all with their chosen profession - ahead of chief executives earning an average of £117K per annum. 117 earning profhighest levels of They highe
It's popular these days to talk a lot about 'church leaders'. There are conferences for church leaders, books and blogs aimed at church leaders, church websites describe their leadership team.
Churches need to be led. We need leaders. Heb. 13:17 refers to those who 'lead'. It's good to emphasise this aspect of ministry.
It used to be commonplace for Christians, especially pastors, to remind each other that what matters is ‘faithfulness, not numbers’. By this was meant that we are called to obey and teach the truth of Scripture, without compromise; the question of how many people (if any) join us is not one that need trouble us, as it is ‘God who gives the increase’. Our job is to be faithful; we can leave the numbers to the Lord.
It is the preacher’s duty to remind people of the reality of judgment and of hell.
This is neither a pleasant nor an easy responsibility to discharge. We tend to go to one of two extremes: either we neglect the subject altogether, as too difficult, or we harp on about it constantly without speaking enough about the love and mercy of God in Christ and without a due sense of compassion for the lost.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, minister of Westminster Chapel in London in the middle of the twentieth century, saw himself primarily as an evangelist. In 1942, he spoke at a conference of leaders of the Crusaders’ Union (a popular Christian youth movement) on the subject of modern evangelism. What he said is still relevant and helpful.
Firstly, he urged his listeners to avoid two extremes – that of the ‘perfectly orthodox’ whose work shows no fruit, on the one hand, and those, on the other hand, who appear to obtain ‘phenomenal results’ which do not in fact last.
Are you thinking of training for pastoral or preaching ministry? Then do make sure that you come and talk to us at LTS. One excellent way to do this is to come to see us in action on one of our new Visit Days. Dates for this autumn term are:
Friday 18 October (Contemporary Issues)
Thursday 21 November (New Testament)
Tuesday 3 December (Systematics)