A warning to preachers

I believe that one of our big weaknesses is in what is called ‘application’ in imparting God’s Word. I don’t mean a personal appeal tacked on to the end of a sermon. I mean an awareness on the part of the speaker of the condition of the audience, and the addressing of his utterance to that particular condition. Or to put it in more personal terms: a knowledge of the people on the part of the person who speaks…The personal relation between pastor and people, between friend and friend, is absolutely integral to effectual imparting of God’s Word…Yet a chief defect of modern preaching is that it is so often fundamentally impersonal: no amount of earnestness, or desire to get decisions, or shouting, or belabouring the audience, or tricks of rhetoric, or even conversational tone, will make up for a lack of awareness on the speakers part of just who he is talking to, and what their spiritual condition is in the actuality of their daily lives, and what they are likely to make of what he says. Nor will it make up for, above all, a lack of love for them which, even while he knows himself to be the messenger of the Lord, constrains him to be their servant, and to frame him message in such a way as fits their need rather than his own.

D.W.B. Robinson, ‘The Theology of the Preached Word’ in Donald Robinson Selected Works: Volume 2 – Preaching God’s Word. p146-147

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One Response to “A warning to preachers”

  1. I take it he is all for mega-churches and satellite preaching, then?

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