Friday, November 11, 2011

Has Peter Masters lost it?

My regular reader will know that I have, once or twice, blogged about Peter Masters.  This week, I was teaching my bi-annual session on 'Evangelistic Preaching' at the FIEC's PfS Course.  It's immensely popular - with me, anyway.

Each time, I recommend the evangelistic preaching of Peter Masters as a good example of how it should be - along with some resources from the Tab.  This year, I thought I'd better have a listen to a recent example.  After all, he is no longer a young man: has he lost it?

So, I went to the Tabernacle Website, found the video of last Sunday evening's sermon (November 6th, on Galatians 2:20) and settled down to listen.

Has he lost it? Er, no. To be honest.  He does look a little frailer than I remember - and he's far too much hair to be decent in a man that age... but his preaching was excellent.  Really very, very good - especially the introduction.  No hesitation in recommending the PfS students to go and have a listen.

I gave a different lecture on evangelistic preaching recently at WEST, to a very fine, friendly bunch of students.  Word came back to me that few - if any - agreed with me that it ought to be a regular, weekly, feature of a pastor's ministry.  It bothers me, that: what hope for the nation if good men stop preaching evangelistically?


Anonymous said...

We really need to know what lies at the bottom of this trend. I dont recognise this in Paul or the apostles' writings. Those who hold the view really should explain why.

Andrew said...

Good post Gary, and the title did really pique my interest. You've inspired me to revisit Physicians of Souls.

Jonathan Hunt said...

DAvid - what trend? For evangelistic preaching or against?

Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I think it has been a trend against for a fair few years if not decades. With so many churches only having one meeting on a Sunday now, that meeting it seems to me is rarely for evangelistic preaching.
I still remember taking someone to a well known church in the expectation that the gospel would be preached. There was a clear underlying assuption that we are all believers.
No need to preach evangelistically under that assumption is there?

Stephen Ford said...

I think the answer (especially vis-a-vis WEST) is at the bottom of page 17 in Stuart Olyott's (excellent) 'Preaching pure and simple'. Quote "We must get rid of the idea that there are two species of preaching, one of which is suitable for the unconverted, the other for the converted." I don't for a minute think that Stuart Olyott intended this to mean that we should not regularly preach explicitly evangelistic sermons. But I do see that some might think that is the logical conclusion.

Andrew said...

I think there's something to what you say Stephen. Perhaps the ABC approach to Gospel preaching which divorced text from context and privileged repetition above freshness has turned some preachers (and people) off the concept of straightforward evangelistic preaching.

In my background there was solid expositional teaching on Sunday mornings where there was an overt insistence on keeping to the text in context. Then on Sunday evenings all of that seemed to go out the window.

There is surely a middle ground: evangelistic teaching of Scripture invested with passion and zeal for souls.

Jonathan Hunt said...

Andrew - I too would maintain that there IS a middle ground. I rarely preach a sermon which has NO evangelistic content, and if I do, I know that the Lord is capable of using it to salvation if He so wishes.

At the same time, I do, most regularly, preach sermons which have a sole evangelistic aim. Those who claim that one type of preaching or another is no use for one type of person or another have forgotten that all true preaching is true preaching, and that God has promised to bless it.

I believe that they also forget the work of the Holy Spirit and rely too much on human wisdom.

Of course, I could be exaggerating.

My own approach is to preach broadly evangelistic expository series with occasional specific individual messages in the Sunday morning service, and teaching messages/exposition in the evening service. In both my former and future church, the unsaved rarely if ever venture in at night!

Andrew said...

Totally with you there Jonathan.

We are currently blessed to have non-Christians present at both services and so, while Sunday morning is the main teaching opportunity there is always evangelistic content.

Sunday nights are reserved for a straightforward presentation of the claims of Christ - but I trust there is meat and teaching there for the believers also.

Anonymous said...

I love the fire and directness of Dr Lloyd Jones in P&P in chapter 10 where he deals with taking every opportunity:
Here then is an opportunity made for you, presented to you to bring home to all the fleeting character of life in this world, and to remind them that none can afford to sit back as spectators or as critics of preachers and preaching. You can remind them that they are involved in all this, and that you are not addressing them on some theoretical subject, but dealing with the most vital matter of all, and that, whether they like it or not, they are moving on to an inevitable and unavoidable end, and that the Final Judgment is coming. A preacher who does not take advantage of these things is a fool, and is not fit to be in a pulpit.