Emotion in Preaching

I have been listening to various preachers on the Internet, and as you know, there are all kinds of them out there. There are loud ones and quiet ones and ones that fall everywhere on the spectrum in between. I have no problem with a man being either quiet or loud, but I do have a problem with a preacher being dull and boring. Some preachers tend to deliver their sermons devoid of any emotions. I am sure they think they are trying to avoid the possibility of influencing people with the emotions. So, they deliver their exegesis of a Bible passage with no emotion. Their delivery is stiff, wooden and dry as cracker juice. Just between me and you, I have a problem with that kind of preaching. It may be a geographical thing, but I don’t call that preaching. Teaching maybe, but not preaching. Preaching screams passion!

Now, I am not in favor of manipulation. I do not believe that people should be pulled and tugged to make a decision based on some emotional gymnastics in the pulpit. However, when I read the Bible, I see the preachers in its pages preaching with intense passion. Hear what Paul said in Acts 20:31, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Sounds like emotional preaching to me! Can you imagine Peter preaching his sermon on the Day of Pentecost without fervency and power? I can’t imagine him standing there delivering some dry lecture before those people. I personally believe that Peter was passionate in his delivery that day.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that preaching is logic on fire. He went on to say, “It is theology on fire. And a theology which does not take fire, I maintain, is a defective theology; or at least the man’s understanding of it is defective.” That is what I am talking about! There is no room in the pulpit for dead, dry rhetoric and stuffy boring delivery. The pulpit is a place for passion, fire and excitement. Charles H. Spurgeon said this, “I would say that a “dull preacher” is a contradiction in terms; if he is dull he is not a preacher. He may stand in a pulpit and talk, but he is certainly not a preacher. With the grand theme and message of the Bible dullness is impossible. This is the most interesting, most thrilling, the most absorbing subject in the universe; and the idea that this can be presented in a dull manner makes me seriously doubt whether the men who are guilty of this dullness have ever really understood the doctrine they claim to believe, and which they advocate. We often betray ourselves by our manner.

That is a statement that modern preachers need to read and reread, until the truth of it breaks upon our hearts. We are charged with preaching the Word of God! We are charged with preaching the Gospel of God’s saving grace. We are charged with telling this world that Jesus Christ gave Himself on the cross to redeem His people from their sins. We are charged with telluing them that He rose from the dead, ascended back to Heaven and will return one day in glory and power to reign. How can we possess such a message and deliver it with anything less than “sanctified madness”?

We are called to “preach the Word“. The word “preach” translates the word “kerusso“. It refers to a herald, one who carried the king’s message to the people. That herald would stand before the people, lift up his voice and clearly and distinctly deliver the king’s message to the people. I cannot imagine one of those ancient heralds standing there delivering his message with a lackadaisical, boring, disinterested attitude. To do so would have been an affront to the king and his message to the people. That same is true when to comes to our preaching.

Preacher, preach the Word! If you are a loud preacher, preach loud. If you are a quiet preacher, then preach quiet. If you walk around or stand in your tracks, be the man God saved and called you to be. But, never, never, never, preach the Gospel with anything less than a burning passion for that message in your heart and on your lips. 

Alan

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