Stuart Robinson on the true nature of preaching

In the preface to his Discourses of Redemption, Stuart Robinson noted that a Bible Renaissance had taken place in the early part of the 19th century. But then he remarked that the Renaissance had not yet manifested itself in the pulpit, “that divinely appointed agency for the special and authoritative teaching of the Word of God to the people.” His explanation of the state of preaching in his day and the nature of true, Biblical preaching, is worth reading by pastors and preachers in the 21st century:

“With the exception of perhaps a slight increase of the expository lecture, the prevailing method of preaching is still that of theological disquisition, ethical essay, rhetorical, persuasive or emotional appeal—founded upon a shred of the Sacred Text chosen as a motto, or, at best, as suggesting simply the theological topic of the occasion. Whereas the true theory of preaching as gathered from the scriptures, manifestly assumes its purpose to be the showing of the people how to read the Word of God; and leading them to feel that ‘this day is the scripture fulfilled in their ears,’ and that these are the words of a Jesus who not only spake by holy men of old, but who is now speaking with living utterance to the men of this generation.”

May the Lord enable us to preach rightly, not using the text merely as a motto for our sermon, but unfolding the very words of God to the people of God, communicating His mind to them and teaching them how to read their Bibles for themselves.


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