It is common nowadays to hear a preacher described as a “good Bible teacher”, or a sermon as a “Bible talk”. While it is a great compliment to be called a “good Bible teacher”, the suggestion is that nothing more is involved than delivery of information.
The Bible describes preaching in richer terms. Paul is Christ’s ambassador “as if God were making his appeal through us. We implore you (or plead) on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20). This ministry is much more than giving a Bible talk. Paul is emotionally committed both to God and to the people to whom he ministers. He is seeking to engage not only his congregation’s heads, but also their wills and hearts. That sense of urgency is very evident in Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, not to mention the Old Testament prophets.
It is such preaching that is needed today. In a nation where the Gospel has been rejected, and even in the church the love of some grows cold, we need preachers who will plead, and inspire, and challenge their hearers to come to Christ.
In October we greatly appreciated the visit of Dr Joel Beeke. His lectures to Seminary students were on the theme of “Reformed Experiential Preaching”, demonstrating what this means, how it has been exemplified through the ages, and how it can be developed today. One day of lectures was open to pastors, and our lecture room was filled to capacity. Dr Beeke also gave the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture on “Reformed Piety”, emphasising our need for wholehearted devotion to God in all of life; this is available on the Seminary website.
Please pray that the Lord would raise up preachers who love the Lord and love people, and minister with both depth and passion. We are now starting our new season of visit days, trusting that the Lord will bring us many whom he is calling into ministry.
Please continue to pray for our students already in ministry, especially those who completed the course in June, that the Lord would grant fruit to their labours.