Preachers are ordinarily pleased with their own preaching. They are all sometimes disappointed that on a particular Sunday they were not quite up to their usual standard, but they are likely to think that there are good reasons for this lapse. They have not been feeling up to par, or the unavoidable pressures of other pastoral duties have kept them from doing their best at preaching.
However, seeing the low estate to which the power of the pulpit has sunk in this day, an investigation to discover the real cause seems called for. Since the purpose of an investigation is to place blame squarely where it belongs, the investigator is not always regarded fondly by these whose work is being examined. A friend of mine who is a professional investigator of aviation accidents says that the biggest obstacle to discovering the cause of an airplane crash is a live pilot.
But preachers have taken refuge behind weak excuses long enough. The problem is not that people are too saturated with television and worldly entertainments. To say that this is not the day of great pulpiteers is to beg the question. If it is not, why not? It should be!
Can the preacher help it if he does not have the gift of being an interesting speaker? But God did not say, “Preach the Word interestingly.” Some preachers do not have attractive personalities. But God did not say, “Preach the Word attractively.” Nor did he say to preach it entertainingly or dynamically or flamboyantly. God said to preach the Word faithfully—“in season, out of season” is the King James phrase. If this is done, the results are guaranteed.
The trouble is that it has not been done. Preachers assume that when they have taken a good subject, told the truth about it, and illustrated it biblically, ...1