Preaching To The Church Of Our Times -- By: Hugh M. Scott

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 066:261 (Jan 1909)
Article: Preaching To The Church Of Our Times
Author: Hugh M. Scott


Preaching To The Church Of Our Times1

Prof. Hugh M. Scott

The crowning glory of a theological seminary is to send forth timely preachers; men who are not only godly and learned but well acquainted with the life of the age, in full sympathy with its needs and able to bring to their contemporaries a message that is interesting, plain, and effective. Toward such an end every department of Seminary work — biblical, historical, systematic, ethical, social, and practical — should consciously tend. And from the beginning to the end of his course every student of theology should keep this goal before him; as every preacher of the gospel should behold it as a vision in his heaven through all the course of his ministry.

This is an old problem; but it is ever new. Jesus dealt with it; so did Paul and Origen and Chrysostom and Augustine and Berthold of Regensburg and Tauler and Luther and Knox and Goodwin and Jonathan Edwards and Spurgeon. Just because it is so important and so central it is so much discussed, and every man feels free to offer advice respecting it. As long as public speech retains its power, and oratory its charms; as long as the voice of the living teacher in school or conference

or great congregation attracts young and old by the recital of noble truths and the story of heroic lives; as long as Sunday is observed as a season of rest, worship, and religious activity, so long will the Apostle of God, the evangelist, the preacher with a message, have abundant space for the exercise of his many-sided ministry; and so long must he seek to transmute the clouds and fogs about the people who hear him into showers of blessing for their thirsty souls. Jesus told his followers to take heed what they heard and to take heed how they heard. That must mean for the preacher, take heed what you preach and take heed how you preach it. He must ever ask himself: Am I preaching the gospel? Am I presenting it so as to win men to it? Do I show it in its fullness, fruitfulness, and power? Am I indeed a wise fisher of men, a faithful shepherd, a diligent reaper, as Jesus called his followers to be?

It appears almost trifling with a great subject to say such things; yet it seems necessary. A prominent German pastor (Wolff) has recently said: “No class of men should be less subject to illusions than ministers; and yet none is so much subject to them.” That is doubtless less true in practical America than in theoretical and traditional Germany. But how is it possible that a preacher of the gospel anywhere can live in a fool’s paradise and play with shadows, when the awful concerns of men’s souls for time and...

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