Archives for posts with tag: preaching

The Book of Proverbs tells us about the man who lies on his bed, turning like a door on its hinges, while the weeds grow up in his garden, choking and killing his crop. Then, when harvest has come, he has nothing and is reduced to begging for help.

Now, staying in bed when he should be cultivating his garden may not be overly sinful—but I think there is no argument but what a willfully lazy man is a sinful man!

It follows, then, in my estimation, that a person who is intellectually lazy is a sinful person. God had a reason for giving us our heads with intellectual capacity for thinking and reasoning and considering. But what a great company of humans there are who refuse to use their heads and many of these are Christians, we must confess.

Many a preacher would like to challenge the intellectual and thinking capacity of his congregation, but he has been warned about preaching over the people’s heads.

As a preacher, I deny that any of the truths of God which I teach and expound are over the heads of the people. I deny it!

I say to my Christian brother: “You ought to take that head of yours, oil it and rub the dust off and begin to use it as God has always expected you would. God expects you to understand and have a grasp of His truth because you need it from day to day!”


(Emphasis mine); from A Word for Reason: Emotions in Control!; cited in Tozer Speaks, vol. 2

One more thought: Obviously, the truth in both this quote and the Luther quote (see previous post) could be twisted. But it’s important that we who teach care enough for our people to both (1) labor to speak clearly to them regardless of education level, and (2) refuse to assume they are incapable of learning or appreciating complex passages.


Cursed are all preachers that in the church aim at high and hard things, and, neglecting the saving health of the poor unlearned people, seek their own honour and praise, and therewith to please one or two ambitious persons.

When I preach, I sink myself deep down. I regard neither Doctors nor Magistrates, of whom are here in this church above forty; but I have an eye to the multitude of young people, children, and servants, of whom are more than two thousand. I preach to those, directing myself to them that have need thereof. Will not the rest hear me? The door stands open unto them; they may begone. I see that the ambition of preachers grows and increases; this will do the utmost mischief in the church, and produce great disquietness and discord; for they will needs teach high things touching matters of state, thereby aiming at praise and honour; they will please the worldly wise, and meantime neglect the simple and common multitude.

An upright, godly, and true preacher should direct his preaching to the poor, simple sort of people, like a mother that stills her child, dandles and plays with it, presenting it with milk from her own breast, and needing neither malmsey nor muscadin for it. In such sort should also preachers carry themselves, teaching and preaching plainly, that the simple and unlearned may conceive and comprehend, and retain what they say. When they come to me, to Melancthon, to Dr. Pomer, etc., let them show their cunning, how learned they be; they shall be well put to their trumps. But to sprinkle out Hebrew, Greek, and Latin in their public sermons, savours merely of show, according with neither time nor place.


From Table Talk, section CCCCXXVII (HT: quoted by Carl Trueman in a Westminster Seminary lecture from a course on medieval theology, available on iTunes U)

“Coach your flock to see that weak doctrines get pulverized by the weight of powerful temptations. Sin and temptation must be refuted by truths of God that are anchored in the Scriptures, especially the doctrine of the person and nature of God.”

– Mike Abendroth, Jesus Christ: The Prince of Preachers, p.74

“When you stand in the pulpit tonight, you can do one of two things. Either you can show those in the congregation that Jesus Christ is wonderful, or you can try to convince them that [you are] a reasonably intelligent young man. You can’t do both.”

–an adapted quote from A Hill on Which to Die by Paul Pressler, p. 152. (Pilfered from: Ross Shannon @ A Dull Jade)

This was ringing in my ears this past week as I stepped up to preach the afternoon service at our church, which was humbling. And as much as I was focused on pulpit ministry at the time, I’ve since started thinking that this is worthy advice for music leaders as well.

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