Preachers and Preaching

  1. It is wrong to put direct pressure on the will. The will should always be approached primarily through the mind, the intellect, and then through the affections. The action of the will should be determined by those influences.
  2. In the end it may produce a condition in which what has determined the response of the man who ‘comes forward’ is not so much the Truth itself as, perhaps, the personality of the evangelist, or some vague general fear, or some other kind of influence.
  3. The preaching of the Word and the call for decision should not be separated in our thinking
  4. This method surely carries in it the implication that sinners have an inherent power of decision and of self-conversion.
  5. There is an implication here that the evangelist somehow is in a position to manipulate the Holy Spirit and His work. Some organizers today even predict the results.
  6. This method tends to produce a superficial conviction of sin, if any at all. People often respond because they have the impression that by doing so they will receive certain benefits.
  7. You are encouraging people to think that their act of going forward somehow saves them.
  8. It raises the whole question of the doctrine of regeneration. This is the most serious thing of all. This work is the work of the Holy Spirit, and His work alone, no one else can do it. And as it is His work it is always a thorough work; and it is always a work that will show itself.
  9. No sinner ever really decides for Christ.

 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones  – Preachers and Preaching, Zondervan, 1971, p. 269-279 (summary of his main points).

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What Makes a Church Reform Possible?

by John Folmar

.. The driving force behind any true reform will be the Word of God. As the Word powers through a congregation, it softens up the hard ground and produces spiritual change. In Dubai there were faithful members who had been laboring away for years but to little effect; they weren’t being consistently supported by the weekly sermons. Valiant attempts were made to strengthen the community, but something was lacking. But when the preaching became consistently expositional and gospel-centered, it was as if someone dropped a burning match on gasoline. Ministry was multiplied. As the church began to turn around, one long-time member compared the preaching to a weekly artillery barrage. The steady pounding of the Word softened opposition and opened up avenues for more fruitful ministry to occur throughout the body.

The pulpit must lead a church reform effort, and this means preaching expositionally with gospel emphasis and judicious application to the life of the church, especially those areas that need reform. If the pulpit is not solidly behind the effort, reformers are probably wasting their time. It’s better to move on to a place where the Word is already being rightly preached and see how that ministry can be supported. Read the entire article here.

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