The Purpose of Preaching

preaching.jpgJames Stewart, recently voted by Preaching Magazine the best preacher of the 20th century, said this,

“Your task is not to send people away from church saying, ‘That was a lovely sermon’ or ‘What an eloquent appeal!’ The one question is ‘Did they, or did they not, meet God today?’ There will always be some who have no desire for that, some who rather than being confronted with the living Christ would actually prefer what G.K. Chesterton described as ‘one solid and polished cataract of platitudes flowing for ever and ever.’ But when Peter finished his first great sermon in Jerusalem, reported in the Book of Acts, I do not read that ‘when they heard him they were intrigued by his eloquence’ or ‘politely interested in his literary allusions’ or ‘critical of his logic and his accent’ or ‘bored and impassive and contemptuous’; what I do read is ‘when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart’”