Monday, December 14, 2009

Iain Murray on what is lacking in modern preaching

One of God's wonderful gifts to the contemporary church is Iain Murray. Minister, Author and lecturer, Murray founded the Banner of Truth Trust in 1957. The publication and distribution of "Banner Books" has been one of the chief instruments in the revival of gospel-centered Christianity in our day.

Iain Murray's books and preaching have always proved helpful to me. I regard his 2 volume biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones as unsurpassed in biographical writing. Volume 1 was used by God to strengthen me at a very pivotal time early in my pastoral ministry and is one of the most influential books I have ever read.

So, when Iain renders an opinion on an important issue, I want to take it to heart. Today I received his latest "Murray News" email. Buried within descriptions of his recent travels and ministries, he offered his view of things that he regretfully finds lacking too often in contemporary preaching. They are not all equally important, but they are all worth considering. I pass along his short, provocative list for my fellow pastors and for future pastors.
Among things missing in too much preaching I regret the following: 1. Too often no distinct text is announced at the outset (almost as though a text is a boring way to start a sermon). But nothing is more important. In former times a preacher often gave out his text twice. 2. Lack of passion and urgency 3. Lack of on the part of the preacher; by which I mean, not faith in his message, but faith in Christ to enable him to speak in His name without dependence on a written manuscript. There is too much paper in pulpits! 4. Lack of memorisation of Scripture! We all ought to know much more Scripture by heart than we do, and especially preachers. An occasional turning up of a reference with the congregation is understandable, but to make a practice of it, and to fail to quote Scripture freely, is to diminish what preaching ought to be. 5. Far better to be short than to be dull! A number of eminent preachers could be quoted who did not think 20 minutes ‘short’ or unacceptable. There ought to be more variation.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Southwest Founders Conference, September 24-26

I am looking forward to participating in the 2009 Southwest Founders Conference next week, hosted by Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas (just outside Ft. Worth). The theme is, The Foolishness of Preaching. I am scheduled to speak 3 times. If you are in the area, try to catch some of the sessions. It begins Thursday, September 24 and concludes Saturday.

Andrew Nicewander will provide liveblogging
during the conference. Check out his blog to get summaries of the messages. I'll undoubtedly be tweeting during conference. ;)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

North Carolina preaching, Tom Nettles' lecturing

Today I am traveling to North Carolina with my wife, Donna. Tomorrow I will preach in chapel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Tonight I will speak at the Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Mebane. I also hope to connect with those in the seminary family who are interested in church planting. If you are in the area, be sure to say hello. I will be the one dressed like a Floridian who has wandered into the frozen tundra with a beautiful lady at my side.

Tom Nettles will be delivering the faculty lecture today at 10 AM Eastern time at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's chapel service. I think Dr. Nettles' lecture will be livestreamed.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Isaiah 50:1-3, Rethinking God (in Wordle)

Yesterday was my first Sunday back in the pulpit at Grace. Six weeks ago, I was highly doubtful that I would ever be granted such a privilege again. God, in His rich grace, enabled me to preach from Isaiah 50 under the theme of "Rethinking God." The graphic above is my sermon in Wordle. If you are unfamiliar with Wordle you can check it out at their website. The original is found here.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

John Broadus' advice on reading

John Broadus offers this excellent advice on the reading habits of ministers (from his Lectures on the History of Preaching, 230-31).
I think that young men should be specially exhorted to read old books. If you have a friend in the ministry who is growing old, urge him to read mainly new books, that he may freshen his mind and keep in sympathy with his surroundings. "But must not young men keep abreast of the age?" Certainly, only the first thing is to get abreast of the age, and in order to this, they must go back to where the age came from, and join there the great procession of its moving thought.

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