What's wrong with preaching today?

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I'm reading  'Great Preachers of Wales' by Owen Jones (1885) and, as you can probably tell from the title, it's something of a romantic read. However, I came across a great quote on Daniel Rowland, the 18th Century preacher. If you don't know of Daniel Rowland shame on you - I'll stick some places you can read of him at the bottom of the post.
 
Jones, commenting on why preaching in his day was so different to that of Rowland, states 'The main difference between Rowlands and the preachers of our day is, we should say, fervent prayer and deep absorption of mind. The preachers of the present day have a thousand things to attend to. Their energies are scattered over a wide field, while the energies of our fathers were concentrated upon one thing. We need to do everything, they tried but one thing. We have our time battered down, and broken into fragments,  while they had their time for their great work. We often turn our attention to the light literature of the day, and the new books that appear; we read the articles in the reviews, and we take the daily papers, and are, many of us, well versed in the politics of the day. And hence our preaching suffers. We want absorption with the great themes we preach. The deeper we go into our own spirits, the deeper we may expect to go into the spirits of our hearers. Daniel Rowland was a man of deep absorption and intense concentration. He was a man of one thing - one thing and one thing only - and that one thing was preaching. Hence his wonderful success. He plunged into the depth of his spirit, and meditated deeply and abstractedly upon the great themes of the Gospel; and thus his preaching probed the lower depth of the spirits of others. There is nothing to prevent the same powerful effects in our own day but ourselves. God is exactly the same; His love and mercy look upon a lost world with as sweet a smile now as they did in the times of Whitefield and Rowland; the Spirit of God is as full of power as in the times of Elijah, John the Baptist, and the Apostles, and is as willing to come down from heaven upon us as upon them. We hear the people often asking, ''Where is the Lord God of Elijah?'' The question, however, is easily answered. The Lord God of Elijah is where he was before, and as He was before. That is not the question now more that it was of yore; but  ''Where is Elijah?'' Let Elijah be at his work; let Elijah concentrate all his powers upon his duties, we need not be very anxious about the Lord God of Elijah'' (p.74,75)
 
Goodness knows what Jones would have made of blogs, church staff and admin but his point is a fair and a convicting one. The big difference with preachers today - fervent prayer and absorption of mind! .
 
If you've not read of Daniel Rowland you're in for a treat:

A great introductory article is that of Hywel R Jones - Daniel Rowland - Man of Truth and Power.
 
Christian Leaders of the 18th Century - JC Ryle -  In the words of the great lyricist Robert Palmer - 'Simply  irresistible'.
 
The Calvinist Methodist Fathers of Wales - John Morgan Jones - Lloyd Jones' Sunday night reading. It's a 2 volume monster.
 
Daniel Rowland - Eifion Evans - It's slightly disappointing as a biography in that it's drier than it should be.
 
Great Preachers of Wales - Owen Jones - Tentmaker Publications.
 

Daniel Rowland used Logos 4 in preparation for sermons, his English contemporary George Whitefield recommended the Puritan Deluxe version with an excel spreadsheet to help you in preparation.
Posted July 1, 2014 @ 2:20 PM by Paul Levy
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