Modern preaching is being most severely attacked these days, not by the people who hear it, but by preachers and theologians themselves. “Clergymen are numerous, but prophets are few,” states Dr. Kyle Haselden, editor of The Pulpit, adding that this “is a just and accurate indictment of current preaching. With one incisive stroke it uncovers the radical defect, the weakness underlying the decadence of the American pulpit.” He refers to the need for preachers “who with conviction and passion and in truth speak hopefully for God, whose pulpits remind men, not of the lecturer’s dais or the forum or a cozy experiment in group dynamics, but of Sinai, Calvary and the Areopagus.”

Dr. John R. Bodo, professor of practical theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary (Presbyterian), concurs: “We may hold, with complete biblical and historic legitimacy, that preaching is our main duty as well as the original normative medium for the proclamation of the Gospel. But our people … may no longer be greatly affected by our preaching or by any kind of preaching.… So we go on, from Sunday to Sunday, deluded into thinking that just because we have said something, something has actually happened, while people know (and we ourselves know it in sober moments) that the day of the ‘preacher’ is done.”

Dr. George C. Stuart, professor of preaching at Christian Theological Seminary (Christian Church), attacks the way preaching is taught in our seminaries. “Sometime ago I listened to a graduate of a well-recognized theological school announce to his fellow ministers that he had spent the first four or five years of his initial parish experience forgetting all that he had learned at seminary in order, as he put it, ‘to preach to the people in my church.’ ...

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