Don't Read Sermons!
August 26, 2015
Rick Phillips has stirred me from my slumber!
I would want to argue the exact opposite, that far too many expository commentaries are being published. I don't know if I am alone in thinking this, but, if you buy three of them on the same Bible book, it is remarkable how many of these sermons are very similar and how they even sometimes cite each other. I'm prepared to overlook Rick plugging his own publications as a difference in transatlantic practice.
With that said, I'm not convinced it's good for the preacher to be thinking about turning sermons into a book either. There are exceptions which are notable (Calvin, Spurgeon, some of Lloyd Jones and Boice) but they are the exception, not the rule. As someone once said to me, ''Every time you think that you are the exception put that thought in the bin''.
There is a huge difference between verbal communication and reading and so you have outstanding preachers whose written sermons actually aren't that great. I'll never forget reading Whitefield's sermons, published by the Banner, and suddenly thinking ''Hey, my preaching isn't that bad.'' Even with someone like Lloyd Jones there are volumes which are outstanding - Ephesians 2, Romans 6 and Spiritual Depression - but there are other volumes which aren't of such a high standard. You need to take this in the right way, but most sermons should be preached and then forgotten, not preserved.
Time is so precious and there are so many great books! I would want to encourage most preachers not to waste their time with expository commentaries. Read the classics and the greats! I'd tell publishers not just to publish a series of sermons because the preachers are well known!
Ref 21 has been too dull for too long, although Lee's posts on reprobation have certainly set the pulse racing.