For The Truth

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Idolatry of Talent

This could easily have been written for our time.

“There is in this day an idolatry of talent running through society; and this man-worship has crept into the church, and corrupted its members. It is painful to perceive how far it is carried in many circles, and to see what homage is paid, and what incense is burnt, to their favourites.

It is not religion or holiness that is thus elevated, but genius and knowledge: it is not moral beauty, but intellectual strength, that is lauded to the skies: the loftiest models of goodness receive but scanty offerings at their shrine, compared with the gods of the understanding.

It is very evident that in many cases the gospel is loved, if loved at all, for the sake of the talent with which it is preached, and not the talent for sake of the gospel.”

–John Angell James, An Earnest Ministry: The Want of the Times (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1847/1993), 249.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preaching in Earnest

Eddie Goodwin at Ardent Cries provides a helpful snippet from John Broadus, as quoted by Alex Montoya:

Some men by nature are shy, timid, and inhibited with regard to their feelings. Unfortunately, our intellectual and reclusive seminary environment appeals to this temperament. In addition, our fear of appearing overemotional, manipulative and nonintellectual makes us want to subdue any manifestation of emotion, excitement, or pathos in our preaching. One’s nature has as much to do with our style of preaching. No one need despair, however. Just read what John Broadus said more than a century ago, which I still believe holds true today:

The chief requisite to an energetic style is an energetic nature. There must be vigorous thinking, earnest if not passionate feeling, and the determined purpose to accomplish some object, or the man’s style will have not true, exalted energy. It is in this sense emphatically true that an orator is born, not made. Without these qualities one may give valuable instruction; without them one might preach what silly admirers call “beautiful sermons”; but if a man has no force of character, a passionate soul, he will never be really eloquent. There are, however, timid and sensitive men who, when practice has given them confidence and occasion calls out their powers, exhibit far more masterful nature than they ever imagined themselves to possess.” (pp.16-17)

May God grant to those who preach souls so taken up with the truth that the heat as well as the light spills over in our pulpit labours.

Written by Jeremy Walker at The Wanderer