19 August, 2008

Who Is To Blame: Preacher or Pew Warmer?

Many people ask what is wrong with Reformed churches? Why are so many not growing? Why do we receive the slander of 'the frozen chosen' or 'the dead orthodox'? Truthfully, if one is chosen- he will not be frozen. There are imperatives in the Scripture that move us to be anything but frozen. And if one is orthodox, then he will not be dead, because orthodoxy requires us to have orthopraxy (right practice). Sadly, preachers want to accuse many in the pews of being the problem. We hear, 'People want to be entertained, they do not want sound preaching and demands on their lives.' Martyn Lloyd-Jones saw the problem from the other end- he blamed the preacher first; and saw the preacher's problem finding its way into the pew:

The time has come when we must assess the whole situation . It is entirely wrong to take our problems to the people; we have got to preach what is most profitable for them, what is really going to help them. The main problem of evangelicalism today (apart from slipping away from truth) is the lack of power- what do our people know of 'joy in the Holy Ghost'? You will not win people to teaching if you are a dull teacher! The wife of a deacon said to me about someone she had heard, 'He is unlike so many of our Reformed preachers who are so dull.' If you preach without moving people, you have failed as much as others. If we do not know the joy of the Lord what is the value of what we say? We must start with ourselves. To hear of 'excellent lectures on doctrine' being given on a Sunday is truly appalling. Are you right in assuming those in front of you are enjoying the Christian life, and they are able to convict others? These two things go together. Arguing about niceties will not help us. What is the value of anything if we are not living epistles?

4 comments:

Droll Flood said...

If one were to proclaim the doctrines of election, adoption, justification, etc. according to their context in which they appear, then these doctrines would propel us to godly living. For sure, we may speak of election, justification, etc. according to good and necessary consequence, etc. but we may not think on such things for mere speculation/ contemplation.

backwoodspresbyterian said...

I ordered "Preachers and Preaching" today. Look forward to reading it.

Nathan Eshelman. Living a life unto the glory of Jesus Christ. said...

Droll, you are right. They need to be proclaimed boldly, in context!

Backwoods: Preachers and Preaching is MY FAVORITE homiletics book. It is not used in many seminaries that I know of.

The quote comes from "Lloyd Jones: Messenger of Grace".

Mark said...

Just read James today talking about being doers of the word and not just hearers. Well worth bearing in mind - many hear sound preaching, but since they don't put any work into hearing or doing, blame the minister for their laziness. And, of course, Lloyd-Jones is quite right about pastors creating problems as well. Interesting food for thought.