King's Business - 1940-07

T H E K I N G ’ S B U S I N E S S


July, 1940

“The old prophets had to write, so do you.”

What of Preparedness?’

By HERBERT LOCKYER Chicago, Illinois

[All rights reserved ]

T HE unprepared sermon is a sin. There is an Old Testament woe on him who “doeth the work of cred preparation is the incumbent duty of every preacher, and such preparation as this will call for much pen-drudgery. It is a delusion to believe that the truth of the Word of God may be drawn from the Scriptures with no effort. Truth enough to save the soul may lie upon the surface, but truths making for the overthrow of sin and Satan can be uncovered only by painstaking study. Prayer coupled with patience can help greatly a diligent pen. . The Writing Habit Writing is a self-revelation. Writing reveals the preacher to himself. Writ­ ten thoughts are akin to a photograph held up before our eyes. A manuscript is our mental face, wrinkles and all. Thus, writing fosters and compels clear thinking, and it is one of the finest pos­ sible mental disciplines. Writing abolishes looseness. Writing makes the mind tractable and the serv­ ant of the will. It likewise saves the preacher from repetition. Simplicity is vital. Unless thoughts are expressed in simple phraseology, they are not worth expressing at all. Further, errors in grammar, which we do not detect when we are speaking freely under the glow of emotion, leer at us and fairly rebuke us from a written page. Writing cultivates style. Dinsdale T. *Fourth in a series on " The Art and Craft of Preaching

Young declared: "Writing clears the mind of the writer. It gives style and precision and thought. The old prophets had to write, so do you.” James Reid, in The Technique of Preaching, recom­ mends a sermon to be written "in speak­ ing style.” He asserts: “Verbosity must go. . . . A good many delightful phrases and attractive asides must be sacri­ ficed. We "have got to get to the end of the street in naif an hour, or there­ abouts, and to take with us many peo­ ple whose minds do not move quickly, so we have no time for many of the interesting sights upon The way.” Writing assists the preservation of material. Written sermons have the ad­ vantage of surviving the preacher. The various names adorning our book­ shelves would have perished if they had belonged to those who labored not with the pen. “Write for, all future time,” said A. T. Pierson, “and write what you are willing to have abide for all future time. Give the best products of your mind and of your pen to the printing press, and give nothing else.” “Genius,” says Carlyle, “is an infinite capacity 'fo r taking pains.” Practice and self-discipline can work wonders even with an ordinary mind. Therefore write for yourself, for your people, and for the future. If you find yourself too lazy to push a pen for two or three hours a day, shake yourself out of your laziness, for God has little use for a lazy man. Striving for Unity Unity is an important factor in style. There must be wholeness in the mes­ sage presented. A. French reminds us

that “a discourse without a parent idea is a stream without a fountain, a plant without a root, a body without a soul. . . . The hearer does not cling to a speaker who, undertaking to guide him, seems to be ignorant whither he is go­ ing.” The thought, then, in a sermon should have unity. It is not enough to have a succession of ideas following without discord; there must be something closer than this. Further, unity provides the preacher with pleasure as he preaches. We fear, however, that Archbishop Whately’s se­ vere criticism can be verified: “Many a wandering discourse one hears, in which the preacher aims at nothing, and hits it, for some speakers resemble ah exploring party in a newly discov­ ered island. They start in any direc­ tion, without aim or object.” As the preacher sets out to prepare his message, then, he must keep before him the Pauline injunction: "This one thing I do” (Phil. 3:13). Striving for Suitability Many good sermons miss fire, simply because the right thing is not said in the right place. If the preacher is to be effective in his ministry, he must learn how to apply his message to every individual in his audience. It was said of Phillip Henry that he did not shoot the arrow of the Word over the heads of^hig audience in affected rhetoric, nor under the feet by homely expressions, but to their hearts in close and lively application. This should ever be the min­ ister’s aim in preaching.

Jehovah negligently.” Careful and sa*

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