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A Plea for Preaching

Gardner Taylor pic

Brethren Preachers, we’ve got to get back to our work of preaching. The circumstances of the times necessitates it (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

The whole world lies under the sway of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Our adversary, as fearsome and fierce as a lion, seeks people to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). The god of this world never rests to put blinders over the eyes of our people, to shut out the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). There must be found a preacher in the land that God can use to stay the hand of Hell (Rom. 10:14).

We need preaching (2 Tim. 4:1-5).

Yes, it’s a form of communication as ancient as Noah, who was a preacher of righteousness in the days before the Deluge (2 Pet. 2:5), but God has ordained preaching as a means to faith (Rom. 10:17).

Right now there is a want of powerful preaching in this country (Amos 8:11). The cause of this demise can be linked, in part, to the fact that sacred rhetoric has fallen out of our favor (2 Tim. 4:3). Sacred rhetoric is treated in the same way that we treat floppy disks, rotary phones, or The Sears, Roebuck Catalogue—historic relics with nostalgic value but little contemporary relevance. Just as human progress has changed the way we store information, changed the way we call a friend, and changed the way we shop, it has changed the way we preach. Gone is the fire and brimstone. Gone is the unction. Gone is the offense of the cross. Gone is the gospel.

A new kind of proclamation—if it can be called as such—is coming from American pulpits. It’s humorous. It’s conversational. It’s easy-going. It’s topical. It’s trivial. If there’s a text taken, it’s taken only as a springboard for preachers to vaunt themselves into the air of their own opinions.

And what’s the result of this newfound homiletic? Churches are bigger, and pews are fuller, but heaven is no more gained.

So then, I am calling us back to our work of preaching (2 Tim. 4:2). Not to the kind of preaching that blesses man; but to the kind of preaching that glorifies God. That would be biblical preaching, text-centered preaching, expository preaching, and gospel-focused preaching. We can do without any more cutesy conversations or any more psychologized pep-talks or any more pulpit pyrotechnics that fires off a lot of sound but leads to little gospel sight. 

We need more Amoses to thunder forth justice; and more Jeremiahs to minister his mercy; and more Jonahs to call for repentance; and more Obadiahs to summon his judgment; and more Hoseas to broadcast his covenant-keeping love.

Will you be that preacher? When the eternal commission is sounded forth, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us,” will you answer with such eager assent as the prophet, “Here I am! Send me”?

Why not be that preacher? You may not get the big church. You may not get the television ministry. You may not get the invite to keynote the big conference. But preacher, even though you may not get these things, what you will get is a stare. That is, the angels will stare at your feet.

They will stare at them and say, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

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