Study Preparation and Pulpit Preaching -- By: William Ward Ayer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 124:494 (Apr 1967)
Article: Study Preparation and Pulpit Preaching
Author: William Ward Ayer

Study Preparation and Pulpit Preaching

William Ward Ayer

Some years ago my friend and contemporary in New York City pastorates, Dr. Clarence Roddy, compiled a fine volume for young preachers entitled We Prepare and Preach. Because the matter was arranged in alphabetical order, my contribution is the initial one. But such splendid pulpiteers as Lee, Barnhouse, McGee, Rees, Wilbur Smith and others have made the volume something of a classic in its field.

In his foreword Dr. Roddy declares the effectiveness of the volume stems from the fact that the contributors do not speak from academic cloisters but from the throbbing, pulsating forum of life.1 This is the experience of the average preacher.

Broad changes have occurred in the educational world, changes that could be called revolutionary. The fact must be well known in Dallas Seminary that modern education in many places is the victim of cultural imbalance.

Originally, American universities were founded to create good and godly, as well as intellectual, people. Theological schools aimed at making their students proficient in the Word of God and related subjects. We doubt that many universities today aim at producing good people—rather just clever people, smart people. Students are equipped with special skills, but too often their minds are sadly unfurnished with the content or subject matter of our cultural heritage into which a sound education should lead.

I have been told by those who should know that secular schools pay little attention to our national heritage. American history is often displaced by social studies of world

governments and the evaluation of modern governmental systems, many of which have made the world a charnel house.

Likewise, in many theological seminaries the Biblical heritage of the faith is ignored, and “relevant” religion, which seeks to ride the rushing mainstream of the twentieth century, is taught. This procedure has had a revolutionary effect upon the preaching of the church, destroying the sense of heritage in millions of now middle-aged people and also destroying the pride and purpose that springs from an ever-present consciousness of our noble religious ancestry.

This radicalism that many miscall “liberalism” was beginning when I was a student. In denominational colleges and other church related schools, man’s lost condition and his need of salvation were then at least admitted. Today our education functions largely without the Biblical God. Biblical Protestantism created the public school, but in recent years many of these schools have turn...

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