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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Piper Passionate? You betcha'!

I downloaded the mp3 from John Piper, "J. Gresham Machen's Response to Modernism" from an article on Pyromanics entitled How J. Gresham Machen helped (and revolutionized) a young convert. (mp3 is at the bottom of the post). At the end of his message, he offers 12 lessons we can learn from the life of J. Gresham Machen. I was stuck by point two:

"Machen alerts us to the utter doctrinelessness of our day and the fact that we almost take it for granted that utilitarian thinking is the only hope for success, and that preaching or teaching doctrine is a prescription for failure. This skepticism about the value of doctrine is owning to bad preaching that is not passionate and clear and interesting and suspenseful and authentic about the glories of God and his way of salvation, and how it all connects with real life. The Dogma is the Drama Dorothy Sayers said and the reason we can't show this to people in our preaching and teaching and writing is that we have not seen and felt the greatness of the glory of God and all his teachings. Preaching doctrine should not be confusing or boring, Machen says:

That error, unquestionably, should be avoided. But it should be avoided not by the abandonment of doctrinal preaching, but by our making doctrinal preaching real preaching. The preacher should present to his congregation the doctrine that the Holy Scripture contains; but he should fire the presentation of that doctrine with the devotion of the heart, and he should show how it can be made fruitful for Christian life (see note 46)."

Oh how I long for that to be true of my preaching. Doctrine can never be the enemy, for how can the study of God ever be evil? What have I to preach, if I am not articulating the character, activity and attributes of God as evidenced in Scripture? He is the Way, the Truth, the Life (John 14:26). Whoa to us if we preach these facts in a way that leads not to salvation, lacks the conviction of fact, and is presented dry and lifeless! There should be nothing more exciting than the truths of God!

I want so desperately for my preaching to be an act of worship. I dearly want my preaching to be an act of love. An act of love to my Savior. And an act of love for the Body.

I think it can be...if I just get out of the way.

3 Comments:

  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger jason said…

    Leave it to Piper to take someone that only Greek students have heard of and turn his life into a great sermon.

     
  • At 4:01 PM, Blogger ~d said…

    i do so wholeheartedly agree with you, danny! in his devotional "Life as a Vapor," Piper says that "imagination is a Christian duty...when a person speaks or writes or sings or paints about breathtaking truth in a boring way, it is probably a sin. The supremacy of God in the life of the mind is not honored when God and His amazing world are observed truly, analyzed duly, and communicated boringly. Imagination is the key to killing boredom. We must imagine ways to say truth for what it really is. And it is not boring." He goes on to say, "Imagination is like a telescope to the stars: It doesn't make them big. They are big without the telescope. It makes them look like what they are."

    Amen, and happy preaching, Danny!

     
  • At 9:00 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    You already do a top-notch job making truth come alive. Heck, it keeps me awake (and that's saying a lot!) I love you, I'm very proud of you, and I want everyone to know it.

     

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