Tuesday 23 April 2019

Preaching with passion and emotion

This current focus on my blog is about preaching. There seems so much to say. I am not putting myself forward as an expert, but as a minister my primary task is that of preaching the written Word, twice every Lord's Day. That means that ministers must be committed to the primacy of preaching theologically, but also the primacy of preaching in their weekly schedule, preparation and time management. That is perhaps a different subject.

My concern is that in the preaching that I hear in conservative circles, sometimes it can be dry and technical and with little emotion. It may be that people think that theology and emotion must not go together, but the very opposite is true. True theology must impact the heart and mind and therefore theological preaching must affect the preachers affections.

In reading Luke's Gospel after the resurrection of Jesus here are a range of emotions experienced by the disciples, both men and women.

24:4 "they were perplexed".
24:5 "as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground".
24:12 "[Peter] went home marvelling at what had happened".
24:22 "Some women from our company amazed us".
24:32 They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?".
24:37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit".
24:41 "And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marvelling ... ".
24:52 And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy".

Perhaps we read the scriptures and do not allow the emotions of the people in the Bible to shine through. We are not talking about emotional excesses, something to be avoided. In the last two decades there has arisen an academic school of men who have begun to criticise the preaching of George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards and to begin to pin all kinds of blame at their feet. It is as if these well meaning but mis-guided academics consider that emotionless preaching is of value. It is not.

Whitefield and Edwards are two worthy preachers in the history of the preach. Oh that the Lord would raise up such preachers again. Men with rock solid doctrine and rock solid theology, but with hearts aflame for Christ. we need preachers with emotion and passion in the pulpit. Whitefield would speak of the church's need for a "felt Christ". Martyn Lloyd-Jones would write of preaching being "logic on fire" or "theology on fire". We need it in our day; pulpits aflame with the tender love of Christ and warm emotion being poured out on the substance of Bible exposition! Amen.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the insight Pastor Kevin. Am wondering though, what the limits of emotion should be? Just so we don't get to the extreme...

C Schroeder said...