Error is like leaven of which we read, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.
– Harry Ironside
1876 – 1951
You know there are two great plagues that have distressed the church of Christ and it will never be quite free from them; a multitude of hypocrites on a fair day, and a multitude of apostates on a foul day.
– Robert Traill
1642 – 1716
The following Q & A with Voddie Baucham is from Unashamed Workman.
1. Where do you place the importance of preaching in the grand scheme of church life?
I believe preaching is central to the grand scheme of church life (see Acts 2:42ff). Preaching/teaching sets the tone and the parameters for all other functions of the church. Our understanding of fellowship, evangelism, discipline, worship, etc., all arise out of our understanding of God’s word. Without sound preaching and teaching, all else will falter. Hence, preaching is of seminal importance in the grand scheme of church life.
2. In a paragraph, how did you discover your gifts in preaching?
As a young college student, I went on a preaching mission with several teammates of mine. I was a relatively new believer and had no experience sharing God’s word. Two of my mentors guided me through the week and helped me discover my gifts in preaching for the first time. I felt as though something in me was awakened for the first time. I’ve been preaching ever since.
3. How long (on average) does it take you to prepare a sermon?
When we start a series (preaching through a book or section), it can 15-20 hours or more. However, once we are in the midst of the text much of the background work builds upon previous studies and cuts the time dramatically. Nevertheless, crafting the message, adding illustrative material and mining the text for that last nuance, is a process that never really ends until the preaching moment. That’s the only time I can truly say I am finished preparing the sermon.
4. Is it important to you that a sermon contain one major theme or idea? If so, how do you crystallise it?
Absolutely! I am always looking for the central theme in a passage. There may be more than one, but I have come to realize that I am most effective when I limit myself to the main idea. I find that idea by analyzing the paragraph, then the broader context of the section, then the book as a whole, then its place in the broader revelation. Then I go through the process in reverse back down to the passage in question.
5. What is the most important aspect of a preacher’s style and what should he avoid?
The most important aspect of a preacher’s style is authenticity. When I started preaching, I thought my ‘style’ had to fit a certain category. As a result I mimicked some of my favorite preachers. I was constantly reinventing myself. Ultimately, I had to find my own ‘style’ and stick with it. That meant there was one less thing I had to manufacture. I had to realize that God gave me a unique personality and he intended to use it in unique ways. God gave us four gospels written by four unique men, from four different perspectives. I had to remind myself that it is as much of a travesty for me to try to be Tony Evans as it would have been for John to try to be Matthew.
A Christian, if he has not a care, may be proud of his very humility. It is hard starving this sin, because it can live on almost nothing. . . . Be much in meditation on death and judgment. A serious and frequent meditation on death will be a means to kill pride. Ask yourself: “What is man, but a little living lump of clay? And what is his life, but “a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away?”
– Richard Mayo
1631 – 1695