A Plea for Profound Simplicity

The spiritual solution is a love for souls. That old-fashioned phrase must become a modern day reality in our pulpits. If we love our hearers and want to see them live better here, and also prepare for life hereafter, we will do everything to simply our sermons for their benefit. If we keep the spiritual welfare and eternal destiny of our hearers in front of us at all times, making ourselves understood will become a life-or-death matter.

It’s wonderful that God is calling preachers with huge brains into the ministry of the Word. But huge brains need huge hearts if they are to lovingly and sympathetically serve God’s less gifted (but maybe more graced?) children.

In Truth Applied, Jay Adams relates how Martin Luther initially used churchy academic jargon when he preached to nuns in a convent chapel. But, when he became Pastor of the town church at Wittenberg, he realized that he had to work at making himself understood. He used children for his standard of intelligibility. “I preach to little Hans and Elisabeth,” he said. If they could understand, others could too. He refused to play up to the educated in his congregation. “When I preach here at Wittenberg, I descend to the lowest level. I do not look at the doctors or masters, of whom about forty are present, but at the hundred or thousand young people.

To them I preach . . . If the others do not want to listen -- the door is open.”

May it be said of us as it was of eventually said of Luther, “It was impossible to misunderstand him.”

11/2/2010 4:00:00 AM
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  • David Murray
    About David Murray
    Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Previously a pastor in Scotland for twelve years, Murray still preaches most Sundays. He blogs at Head, Heart, Hand, podcasts with Tim Challies on the Connected Kingdom, and contributes to TGC Reviews at The Gospel Coalition. Follow Dr. Murray via Facebook or Twitter, or see his book, Christians Get Depressed Too, and his DVD, “God's Technology.”
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