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Book: The Preacher and Preaching: Introduction: Why Preach, J.I. Packer, pages 1-29

"How to communicate the reality of the God of Scripture across the temporal and cultural gap that separates our world from the world of the Bible has exercised many contemporary minds.  It is not always noticed that God provides much of the answer to this perplexity in the person of the preacher, who is called to be a living advertisement for the relevance and power of what he proclaims." Packer, page 17



The weight of that quote, to the degree that there is truth in it, is an argument on the side of why one should NOT ascend the pulpit to preach.  Maybe the answer to the question Packer is asked; 'Why preach?' should be answered with, 'why preach indeed!'

To think that God uses the 'person of the preacher' as one means to bridge the temporal and cultural gap that separates our world from the world of the Bible is remarkable.  Think of it, God uses the man he has called to preach to communicate, or to somehow hold before the people the relevance and power of what he proclaims, erasing any gaps, cultural or otherwise, between the Word given and the Word preached.

Packer goes on to say, as the previous post quoted at length, ...the preacher must speak as one who knows of the reality and power of which he speaks...


All of this underscores for this preacher his utter failings and profound ineptness found in his charge to preach.  So rarely do I know of this power or meditate on the reality of that which I preach.  I know where the passage fits in redemptive history; I know the various nuances in the Greek or Hebrew; I know how to place the passage in the context in which it was written; and I can take it to Jesus.  But instead of being moved by the reality and power of the passage, I am motivated by the research and the process.  I am taken with study and negligent in prayer and meditation.

Packer is right, as are so many who have spoken or written likewise; the preacher must be undone by the passage before he steps into the pulpit to preach it.

Who is the man that steps into the pulpit on Sunday mornings at Grace Community Presbyterian Church? Who is this person of the preacher that God has provided these people?

He is a person who has studied and worked hard to know the passage, to craft a sermon that is faithful to the passage and that will be redemptive and Christological.  Too often he is not an advertisement for the relevance and power of what he proclaims.  This is to his shame (and maybe why he writes this in 3rd person).

Packer goes on to argue for the benefit and necessity of the sermon as monologue; a worthwhile read that closes his introduction.

Packer has convinced me that I must begin now to cultivate the habit of praying for the relevance and power of each passage every week to be deeply embedded in my heart before I study, while I study; when I write and most especially when I preach.  This shouldn't be a part of my preparation, but my preparation should be the fruit of such prayer and mediation.

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