Mr Preacher

Paul Levy

 J. Graham Miller was a minister, missionary and Theological College principal. A New Zealander by birth, he lived in Australia and the New Hebrides. The Banner of Truth have published his autobiography,  'A day's march nearer home' which is a lovely read. It has been published after his death and so you don't feel like I often do with autobiographies that the subject is a bit full of himself. There was a generous spirit to Graham Miller and yet a steeliness. He passed through difficult times on the mission field, in the theological college and in the denomination. The chapters on his old age are remarkably moving. I want to grow old like Graham Miller. He is an example for ministers in retirement.

I found one of the most fascinating things was one of the appendices, where it gives 5 years worth of the titles of the series and sermons he preached. As Jonathan Fletcher writes here, it is a gold mine for preachers.

The letter below was written by Miller in 1969 for the Melbourne Bible Institute student magazine. It still rings true today......


Mr Preacher

Preaching changed the face of Scotland. The only weapons John Knox had for the overthrow of popery, of tyranny and of ignorance were the burning heart, the Bible, and the pulpit. He spoke for God.

God has ordained these means for the reformation of nations, the reviving of churches, the raising of preachers, the edifying of congregations and the salvation of the lost.

By the preaching of Ambrose in Milan God spoke to Augustine. By the preaching of Savonarola God spoke to Florence. By the preaching of Whitefield and Wesley God spoke to Britain.

By the preaching of hundreds of young men today God will encourage His dispirited people, banish ignorance, plant faith in His Word, and kindle the steady fires of revival in church and nation. A lost generation will be found and fed.

Where are these hundreds of young men? Ten of them are in Theological Colleges;  they left MBI in the graduating class of 1968. Others are wondering whether to join them.

You are hesitating for a number of reasons. The preaching office is in disrepute. On all sides you hear inhibiting talk about the problem of communication, the generation gap, the changing structures of the Church. These are rationalizations for an age which has lost its pulpit power.

'Mr Preacher, you belong to a dying race.'


Good preachers are disciplined men of the Word. They have experienced its power in their own lives. They refuse to believe that God has changed His chief weapon for the saving of sinners, the maturing of Christians, and the renovation of society.

All over the world there are conspicuous Bible ministries today. But they are the exception. They need to become the rule. The younger churches are crying out for expository preachers. In the home churches exposition is a lost art. God promises no blessing on the clever preacher; and there is too much slovenly preaching.

The preacher's gospel is the whole bible with Christ as its centre. He spends a lifetime in conscientious presentation of every facet of God's many-sided revelation. This taxes all his powers of mind and heart. But it proves satisfying, edifying and revolutionary. And he is a man of prayer

Is the sickness of our church a reason for turning away from the charge to Preach the Word? Were Hosea, Jonah, Jeremiah deluded?

When God says 'Preach!' we preach;  nothing stops us. Nothing except ourselves. We assist Satan by our guilty silence.

A Bible College can help to fashion preachers. It can ground them in the Bible - read, marked, learned and inwardly digested. It can school them in their use of their Sword. It can lay a firm foundation for the later years in a theological college. It can establish a life-long pattern for the soul's fellowship with God.

Fewer men are entering the ministry today. It is a bad omen for our future. There are reasons for this, but they are bad reasons.

Mr Preacher of the 1970s, if God is calling you to show yourself approved unto Him, let nothing stand between you and His perfect will. One biblical ministry can produce a dozen preachers. The dozen can, in God's good time, produce a hundred.

Mr Preacher of the 1970s, will you be that minister?