How do I, as a priest/pastor, get from eloquent-wisdom-lofty-speech and plausible-words-of-wisdom preaching (which is what, if we're honest, most of us end up trying to do) to the demonstration of the Spirit and the power of the Cross about which Paul writes? How do I get from plausible to power?
The Scottish Connection
I recently listened to three lectures by pastor and professor, Dr Sinclair Ferguson, from First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina, on preaching. He had some challenges for the likes of me.
- Is anybody ever converted when I preach? If not, why not? Is there something missing in my ministry?
- Am I trying to do what will work rather than what will convert?
- Am I preaching so that folk are impacted by the passage, rather than by my plausible preaching?
- Am I preaching in such a way that, if conversion does happen, people are converted “under the Word” rather than by my eloquence, cleverness, and plausibility?
Ferguson also mused on the need for more on Jesus and who he is and less on application.
Plausibility to Power
It also seems to me, apart from the conversion problem, I must be filled with the Holy Spirit. I mean FILLED and over-flowing with, not just academically, doctrinally or theologically, as in "we-all-are-by-virtue-of-our-baptism," but as "baptism-in" the Holy Spirit, released, scary-tongues, prophecy and all that Holy Spirit.
O Lord, yes please!