Jump directly to the Content

Zeal vs. Art: The Preacher's Dilemma

The young preacher has been taught to lay out all his strengths on the form, taste, and beauty of his sermon as a mechanical and intellectual product. We have thereby cultivated a vicious taste among the people and raised the clamor for talent instead of grace, eloquence instead of piety, rhetoric instead of revelation, reputation and brilliancy instead of holiness.

E. M. Bounds
If conviction is the goal of preaching, what are the legitimate and effective means to that end?Abraham Lincoln said, "When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees." Exuberance has its attractions, but zealous preaching also packs liabilities. Flailing limbs may so dominate the pulpit that the preacher's zeal upstages the sermon's intent.On the other hand, pastors able to weave a literate spell with smooth oratory want to do more than impress a receptive crowd. The art of preaching is not intended to displace the aim: hearts moved to believe in Christ and follow his ways.According ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Disasters Often Bring Revelation Rather than Punishment
Disasters Often Bring Revelation Rather than Punishment
An 18th-century earthquake and a 21st-century pandemic can teach us about enlightenment and judgment.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.