Pointers for Preachers

"So Shall It Be", What Makes Great Preachers?, "The Missing Link"


Traveling in East Africa by car, I suddenly came to a barricade on which a large sign was nailed. On it was a single word—"JAM." I could proceed no farther. This was the end.

Our world is stalled at the barricade. It is on a dead-end street. It is in a jam. To the Adventist minister this was not unexpected. For nearly one hundred years our eschatological pronouncements through prophetic preaching have challenged the attention of millions around the globe. And now in fulfillment, calamity follows calamity and con­fidence has fled the heart of man. Like a condemned prisoner he nervously awaits his summons to the death chamber. And it will come. But not until the world has heard the glad shout, "Lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Ours is not a message of calamity but of comfort, not of fear but of faith. The messenger is not fretful if judgment is delayed nor boastful when it comes. He knows his job and does it.

He refuses to end a message with shifting moun­tains and disappearing islands. He cannot leave his listeners buried in brimstone. He bids the world to look beyond to the glories of the world to come —to the New Jerusalem with its sparkling beauty, eternal life, and Paradise restored; to the coming of Christ, with heaven as His train; and'to the price­less privilege of unending fellowship with our Re­deemer. Let not this emphasis be lost as in God's name we preach the cross. For "so shall it be at last, in that bright morning." e. e. c.


There is general lament today that great preaching has long been on the wane. The great preachers, we say, are no longer with us. Unquestionably, this is not an age of great preaching, but is that because there are no longer great pulpiteers? Was it great men who made great preaching? Must we wait for great men to arise before the power of the pulpit is restored?

The New Testament begins in a setting of preaching. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." "He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness." "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching. . . . Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan." Such is the word of both John and Matthew. From then on the work of the church grew up with great prophetic preach­ing.

At the outset of the New Testament church, preaching was mainly centered in Messianic prophecy, which meant that preaching was Christ-cen­tered. To be such, it was of necessity based on the Bible. Elsewhere than in the Word of God there was nothing worth knowing about Jesus—certainly nothing to inspire great preaching.

AH this means that great preaching depends upon the Bible, not upon great men. The Word makes great preachers. Find a John Wesley, a Campbell Morgan, and you find a man of the Word.

Today men preach psychology (often in an ama­teurish way), philosophy, politics, history, anec­dotes, topical events, almost to the exclusion of that kind of expository preaching that brings men face to face with the Saviour of men. We are, there­fore, subjected to poverty-stricken preaching.

It is the greatness of God's Word that we must preach, the astounding Word that solves the prob­lems of human life. Then we shall be great preach­ers, and souls will be born again.

"The scriptures are the comprehensive equip­ment of the man of God, and fit him fully for all branches of his work" (2 Tim. 3:17).*

H. W. L.

* From The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips. Copyright 1958, by J. B. Phillips. Used by permis­sion of The Macmillan Company.



Repeated warnings from the Spirit of Prophecy and current news releases stress the importance of healthful living. Hospitals and church pews are filled with the sick and dying. The gospel minister longs for the apostolic power to lay hands on the sick that they might be healed. A casual study of history reveals that this power may be slow in coming. It is the minister's privilege, meanwhile, to teach men how to live. This teach­ing must be balanced. No one phase should be as­signed greater significance than another. The non-flesh diet, the necessity of fresh air, exercise, sun­shine, moderation in the use of pastries and ice cream, abstention from tea, coffee, and other stimu­lants, are necessary to the best spiritual, physical, and mental health of the Christian. To pound away at one of these important items to the neglect of others is to misrepresent the health program to the church and to the world, and to succeed only in making enemies for this important truth. Con­versely, to utterly disregard the total teaching, or any phase of it, is to be like a traveler who while motoring is faced with the sign "Travel at your own risk." The decision is his and the risks are his. At any rate, in the health program of the church the missing link is more than a Veja-Link!

E. E. C.

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August 1961

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