Friday, May 16, 2008

A Reflection On Preaching And Passion

To my great surprise and delight, my last post has sparked a wonderful discussion regarding the doctrine of substitution in the context of John 19. As I am continuing to think about this subject I came across an article penned by Paul Weston titled “Proclaiming Christ Crucified Today: Some Reflections on John’s Gospel.” It can be found in the book, Where Wrath and Mercy Meet: Proclaiming the Atonement Today, edited by David Peterson. While this is an immensely helpful article that adds much to the discussion regarding substitution, Weston makes a practical application to preaching and sincere motives towards the gospel that I believe will encourage all of us who love to listen and learn from biblical preaching:
As teachers and preachers, we need constantly to stop and
reflect upon the willingness of the Son to carry through his divine commission.
It will test our motives and fuel our ambitions. As an evangelist, I need to ask
myself, ‘Does this gospel still move and compel me?’ One of the greatest needs
in our generation is for Christians to recover the wonder of the gospel. Many is
the preacher who can communicate well, can argue persuasively, can tell the
finest stories, but who has lost a passion for the gospel. I am reminded of the
words of the great eighteenth-century evangelist George Whitefield who said, ‘I
am persuaded that the generality of preachers talk of an unknown and unfelt
Christ.’ He went on, referring no doubt to unconverted clergy ministering in
numerous parishes of his day, ‘The reason why congregations have been so dead is
because they had dead men preaching to them.’ But there is a reminder here to
preachers and teachers to pursue that energy of heart and spirit that informed
the ministry of the apostle Paul when he wrote, ‘For the love of Christ compels
us, for we are convinced that one has died for all, therefore all have died’ (2
Cor. 5:14) (p. 155).


Joshua Owen said...

John, thanks for the reminder to let our passion for the gospel show.

Also, in light of your interest in the theme of substitution in John's gospel, I met a Ph.D. student working under Bill Cook who is researching the subject of the atonement in John for his dissertation. His name is Terry Braswell (I think Braswell is correct). He works at the Lifeway Campus store if you want to contact him. I'm sure he could give you a good bibliography, as well as share some of the insights he might have gained.

Jamie Fugate said...

John in light of this reminder of the need for passion for the gospel to be real and to really flow into our preaching, I was wondering what we are to think about churches who believe the Gospel but do not proclaim it.