The characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit

“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him: You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath! Produce fruit in keeping with repentance!” Luke 3:7-8

Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if it possessed more plain-speaking ministers like John the Baptist.
A morbid dislike to strong language;
an excessive fear of giving offence;
a constant flinching from directness and plain speaking–
are, unhappily, too much the characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit!

Uncharitable language is no doubt always to be deprecated. But there is no ‘charity’ in flattering unconverted people–by abstaining from any mention of their vices, or in applying smooth names to their damnable sins!

There are two texts which are too much forgotten by Christian preachers. In one it is written, “Woe unto you–when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luke 6:26)

In the other it is written, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

J.C. Ryle – 1816-1900


Types of Sermons

If we were even to try to name some of the types of sermons heard on occasion, let alone trying to classify them, our task would be difficult.

There might be the BUTTERFLY sermon in which the preacher flits from book to book not lighting too long at any spot lest someone should catch him.

There is what Jeff D. Ray called the OLD MOTHER HUBBARD sermon. In this, the preacher uses each word as a jumping-off place into extended elaborations of disjointed items.

There is the BAG OF BEADS message which consists of a number of good ideas without a string to tie them together.

There is the PERSECUTION sermon structure in which the preacher stays with a verse until persecuted and then flees to the next.

There is also the MAJORING ON THE MINUTIA method. This emphasizes the items picked up by an exegetical microscope so that as Thomas Hobbs once said, “the preacher casts atoms of Scripture as dust before men’s eyes, thereby making everything more obscure than it is.”

There is also the SKYSCRAPER sermon in which the preacher tells one story upon another.

Lloyd M. Perry, “Biblical Preaching”


Published in: on May 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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