P T Forsyth on Personality Driven Preaching and Ministry

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Here's your weekly shot in the arm (or to the head) from Peter Taylor Forsyth.  He died nearly one hundred years ago but he could have written this yesterday.  Look on his words, ye mighty (and ye one-man multisites), and despair.   Emphasis mine once more:

You hear it said, with a great air of religious common sense, that it is the man that the modern age demands in the pulpit, and not his doctrine. It is the man that counts, and not his creed. But this is one of those shallow and plausible half-truths which have the success that always follows when the easy, obvious underpart is blandly offered for the arduous whole. No man has any right in the pulpit in virtue of his personality or manhood in itself, but only in virtue of the sacramental value of his personality for his message. We have no business to worship the elements, which means, in this case, to idolise the preacher. (Fitly enough in Rome the deification of the priest continues the transubstantiation of the elements.)  To be ready to accept any kind of message from a magnetic man is to lose the Gospel in mere impressionism. It is to sacrifice the moral in religion to the aesthetic. And it is fatal to the authority either of the pulpit or the Gospel. The Church does not live by its preachers, but by its Word.

Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind, p. 41.
Posted September 1, 2012 @ 9:56 AM by Carl Trueman
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