Lloyd-Jones on Emotion and Preaching

The Urban Reformation shares this great quote from the 20th century’s greatest English-speaking preacher. We need to listen to this as he explains what is wrong with so much of our preaching. It reminds me of some of my ten conclusions on preaching, and some of the posts in the series of which that post was the summary.

Page 93 from the book “Preaching & Preachers” states—

“. . . Modern sophisticated man may laugh at this, but it is only when we begin to know something of this melting quality that we shall be real preachers. Of course a man who tries to produce an effect becomes an actor, and is an abominable impostor. But the fact is that when ‘the love of God is shed abroad’ in a man’s heart as it was in Whitefield’s pathos is inevitable.

This element of pathos and of emotion is, to me, a very vital one. It has been so seriously lacking in the present century, and perhaps especially among Reformed people. We tend to lose our balance and to become over-intellectual, indeed almost to despise the element of feeling and emotion. We are such learned men, we have such a great grasp of the truth, that we tend to despise feeling. The common herd, we feel, are emotional and sentimental, but they have no understanding!

Is not this the danger, is not this the tendency, to despise feeling which is an essential part of man put there by God? We do not know what it is to be carried away, we no longer know what it is to be moved profoundly. . . .”

He goes on to say on page 95—

“. . . Can a man see himself as a damned sinner without emotion? Can a man look into hell without emotion? Can a man listen to the thunderings of the Law and feel nothing? Or conversely, can a man really contemplate the love of God in Christ Jesus and feel no emotion? The whole position is utterly ridiculous. I fear that many people today in their reaction against excesses and emotionalism put themselves into a position in which, in the end, they are virtually denying the Truth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ takes up the whole man, and if what purports to be the Gospel does not do so it is not the Gospel. The Gospel is meant to do that, and it does that. The whole man is involved because the Gospel leads to regeneration; and so I say that this element of pathos and emotion, this element of being moved, should always be prominent in preaching.”

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