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Power in the Pulpit

While preparing for an upcoming lecture on pastoral ministry I came back across this helpful quote from the little gem, The Ministry: Addresses to Students of Divinity, by Charles Brown. Where some in the past thought the press had made preachign irrelevant, many today think various forms of media have had the same effect. Brown’s words are a good reminder.

The power of preaching. But we are told that this in our age is gone, the Press having taken its place. If so, assuredly the worse for the age; for the Press, whatever may be its power, can never supply the place of the Pulpit. But I believe that this whole allegation about the power of the Pulpit being gone is baseless. I will tell you what is gone. The power of a neat little manuscript, carried to the pulpit, and prettily read – that is gone. Oh, never attempt, by the reading of a little manuscript book in the pulpit, to compete with the volumes which issue from the press, or you shall be miserably cast in the competition.
But carry to the pulpit a different thing altogether; carry to it well-digested thoughts, with suitable words to express them – written in your inmost soul, and if needful also in your manuscript – thoughts and words wherewith to stir the souls of your hearers to their inmost depths, – wherewith to hold living intercourse with them, and tell them what God has been telling you; and both you and they shall find that the Pulpit still wields a power altogether its own.” (61)

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