The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

The preacher’s task

with 2 comments

Your task [as a preacher] is not to send people away from church saying, ‘That was a lovely sermon’ or ‘What an eloquent appeal!’ The one question is: Did they, or did they not, meet God today?

There will always be some who have no desire for that, some who rather than be confronted with the living Christ would actually prefer what G. K. Chesterton described as ‘one solid and polished cataract of platitudes flowing forever and ever.’ But when St. Peter finished his first great sermon in Jerusalem, reported in the book of Acts, I do not read that ‘when they heard this, they were intrigued by his eloquence’ . . . or ‘bored and impassive and contemptuous’; what I do read is, ‘When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart.’

The heart of man has a whole armor of escapist devices to hold off the danger when reality comes too near. But I would remind you that Peter’s theme that day – Jesus crucified and risen – is your basic message still, still as dynamic, as ‘mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,’ as moving and heart-piercing as when men heard it preached in Jerusalem long ago.

James S. Stewart, Heralds of God (New York, 1946), p31-32.

HT Ray Ortlund.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 18 November 2010 at 22:57

2 Responses

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  1. Jeremy,
    I received this book from my dad, but know little of Stewart. Do you recommend the whole book? Or any of his others?
    Thanks,
    db

    Pastor Dave Bissett

    Thursday 9 December 2010 at 03:42

    • Hello, Dave – I only recently read the whole thing myself. There are some fine, stirring passages, and much good counsel. Some of that advice is more “light of nature” than “light of revelation” – not necessarily weaker, but worthy of more careful consideration. There was a tendency to an ecumenical breadth that I did not always appreciate, and it is a book very much of its time in some respects. I should say that there was much good to glean from the book, but I would not recommend it unstintingly: read with care and attention, and with some of the old masters alongside, and the Word of God above.

      Jeremy Walker

      Thursday 30 December 2010 at 12:17


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