Preaching and Preachers by Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is a wonderful book that emphasizes the man more than the art of preaching and spiritual preparation more than sermon preparation. The author contends that the most urgent trend in the church and world is true preaching. While the book was published in 1971, I believe the Doctor would cling to his original statement if he were alive today.
The author discusses the reason for preaching’s decline and makes the case for the priority of preaching based on Scripture and church history. The Doctor contends that the primary task in preaching is to put man into a right relationship with God, to reconcile man to God. Everything else in ministry flows from being faithful to the primary purpose, namely – preaching.
The author distinguishes between the kerygma – evangelistic preaching from the didache, or preaching that deals primarily with the edification of believers. Either way, preaching must always be based on a theological foundation and must not violently impose a theological system upon the text. Rather the system of theology should be used as a filter to check a particular interpretation.
All sermons should be expository. Dr. Lloyd-Jones begins with the initial text and walks the reader through his exegetical procedure. Once a doctrine is thoroughly explored, the preacher must consider the relevance of the doctrine and the people who will be listening. He writes, “You are to show that this message is vitally important for them and that they must listen with the whole of their being, because this is really going to help them.”
“The chief end of preaching is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence.” The preacher must therefore stand in the pulpit with authority and exude a sense of seriousness, warmth, urgency, persuasiveness and power.
The author discusses how the preacher must prepare himself. He contends that preachers must maintain a general discipline of life and an attitude of prayer. He adds that serious preachers need to regularly read the Bible systematically and maintain good reading habits that include a study of theology, church history, biographies and apologetics.
This book has many strong points. First, it is immensely personal. The author truly shares from the heart. Second, the section on “calling” is very helpful, especially to younger preachers. Next, Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages preachers to beware of extremes in our post-modern era. Further, the author’s passion for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ rings true on every page which motivates this preacher to do the same. Finally, I especially appreciate the repeated emphasis on relying on the Holy Spirit.
With the rise of the so-called emergent church, watered-down teaching and preaching, doctrinal compromise, and the downplaying of authoritative proclamation, Preaching and Preachers is welcome and needed reminder of the necessity of Christ-saturated, uncompromising preaching. Soli Deo Gloria!