Preach The Word — Grippingly -- By: Victor L. Walter

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 02:1 (Spring 1981)
Article: Preach The Word — Grippingly
Author: Victor L. Walter

Preach The Word — Grippingly

Victor L. Walter

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Preachers listen restlessly to the proclamation of the gospel in tones other than their own. A preacher listens most critically to any homiletical practitioner other than himself. So a charge against contemporary evangelical preaching by someone who both preaches and teaches preaching begins with two strikes against it. Let me get the charge off my chest anyway: there is an enormous and inexcusable amount of dull and mind-numbing preaching going on in evangelical pulpits today. Evangelical laymen point this up in the oft-heard lament, “Our pastor just does not feed us”; and equally evangelical preachers defensively rejoin, “At least I am Biblical” or, somewhat more negatively, “This television generation just is not interested in the Word of God!” But there you have it-my growing gripe and conviction: a lot of honestly biblical sermons are honestly boring.

Ramifications of the Problem

When the pulpiteer falls into a dull routine behind his local version of the sacred desk, the faithful pew occupant is in for a rough time, because in evangelical circles “faithful” means “present every time the sanctuary door opens.” That means that the hapless pew occupant trapped under a dull pulpiteer has the opportunity to be bored in the name of Jesus one hundred four times per year. Should the same layman prove especially faithful and meet the same preacher at midweek service also, one can increase that count of dull interludes per annum to one hundred fifty six. In our more free evangelical call systems of placement one can hardly blame such laymen if they begin to think in terms of calling a different pastor, hope springing eternal in their faithful breasts that this time God will send them a modern Elijah and Isaiah rolled in the same M.Div. diploma.

Given the fact that the Bible is seen by everybody—whatever their doctrine of inspiration—as the most interesting book ever authored, it stands as a strange contradiction that any dedicated to its proclamation should be charged with enervating dullness. Add the evangelical’s clear assertion that every word of Holy Writ was inerrantly prompted by the eternal God and the practice of enervating dullness in its proclamation becomes a sin as monstrous in one bracket as pastoral adultery is in another category. Let any other orator of history prove boring, but never the preacher of the Word:

He lights his torch at all their fires, and then has a torch lit not by their flaring lamps, but at the sun, which sun is Christ. The preacher has all they had, and more-and more, aye, gloriously more! No interest vital to the world which he does not touch. He

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