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Pulpit Aflame

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This sponsored post was prepared by Dr. Joel Beeke of Reformation Heritage Books.

Pulpit AflameI have been an avid reader since childhood, and I invest many hours in the writing, editing, and publication of books—both print and electronic. God Himself has chosen to give us His heavenly communication as a Book. However, in that holy Book, the Lord revealed that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Really? Shouldn’t that say “by reading”? No, it’s hearing, hearing the word preached. If there were any doubt, we find just a bit earlier, “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). Preaching the word is the primary means by which God creates and nurtures saving faith.

Some people would say that preaching is obsolete in our dynamic age. They tell us that preaching’s emphasis on words has been put out of business by a culture of visual images. Its authoritative proclamation grates on the ears of free-thinking post-moderns. Its one-directional verbal communication fails to address our learning styles or allow for peer dialogue. Its mentally demanding expositions of the sentences and doctrines of the Bible go way over the character limit of the Twitter generation. And so it goes.

Such objections fail to recognize the spiritual dynamic of God’s preached word. Preachers follow Christ, who said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18; cf. Isa. 61:1). In God’s purposes, there is simply no substitute for a Spirit-filled man speaking the word of Christ.

You might say, “That was then, and this is now.” However, Christ continues to speak through His anointed servants. Consider Steven Lawson (you can listen to his sermons here). Dr. Lawson has given his life to preaching and training preachers. It was my pleasure at the Ligonier conference to present to Dr. Lawson a book in his honor: Pulpit Aflame.

The book was a collaborative project by some of Dr. Lawson’s dearest friends: Dustin Benge, Iain Campbell, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Michael Haykin, John MacArthur, Conrad Mbewe, Al Mohler, John J. Murray, R. C. Sproul, Derek Thomas, Geoff Thomas, and myself. Here is a sampling of chapter titles:

  • A Biblical Priority: Preach the Word
  • A Historical Pedigree: Sixteenth-Century Reformed Preaching
  • Preaching as Transformation
  • Preaching as Worship
  • The Foundation of Preaching: The Cross of Christ
  • The Power of Preaching: The Presence of the Holy Spirit

Whether you are a Christian who would like to renew your appreciation for preaching, a pastor in need of encouragement and fresh pointers to sharpen your preaching, or a theological student preparing for ministry, this book reminds us that “God works through the faithful preaching of His Word, no less in the twenty-first century than in the first.”

—Joel Beeke


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