The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Preach like Latimer

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I have been enjoying reading up on Latimer for an upcoming address on his preaching, followed by a more developed biographical paper on the man as a whole. It being the Lord’s day tomorrow, it was somewhat timely to come across this brief description from Bishop Ryle of Latimer as a preacher:

Few, probably have ever addressed an English congregation with more effect than he did. No doubt his sermons now extant would not suit modern taste. They contain many quaint, odd, and coarse things. They are very familiar, rambling, and discursive, and often full of gossiping stories. But, after all, we are poor judges in these days of what a sermon ought to be. A modern sermon is too often a dull, tame, pointless religious essay, full of measured, round sentences, Johnsonian English, bald platitudes, timid statements, and elaborately concocted milk and water. It is a leaden sword, without either point or edge: a heavy weapon, and little likely to do much execution. But if a combination of sound Gospel doctrine, plain Saxon language, boldness, liveliness, directness, and simplicity, can make a preacher, few, I suspect, have ever equalled old Latimer.

J. C. Ryle, Five English Reformers (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1981), 106.

Although not identical, the description of today’s modern sermon would probably not be overwhelmingly positive, but the remedy seems pretty timeless: “a combination of sound Gospel doctrine, plain Saxon language, boldness, liveliness, directness, and simplicity.” May God grant that such preachers would take such sermons into their pulpits tomorrow.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 22 October 2011 at 19:43

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