Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Preaching the Word of God consists of communicating truth/content. It also consists of communicating that truth as one who has been and continues to be transformed by that truth/content. I am thankful that one does not have to have mastered the biblical truth one preaches before it can be preached. But unless one seeks to be mastered by that truth one preaches one is not qualified to preach that truth.
Ray Ortlund rightly and insightfully articulates that of which true preaching consists. It consists of preaching objective truth which is also deeply personal. It is something he preaches that is outside of self, since it consists of God’s special revelation, but it is also something that has captured the preacher since it is truth that is also in him.
True preaching is more than preaching truth. It is also deeply personal. It rises from within a man. He is fully aware and engaged and intelligent. But he is forced to speak, compelled not by the expectations of others around but by the power of God within.
A man can preach the word, but still the word is not in him. It has not yet become interior to him, experientialized to him, a part of him. Such preaching is mere wind. True preaching is brewed within, as the gospel enters into a man, floods his awareness, rearranges his own interiority, and surges out of him as something divine and yet still his own.
To preach in the power of the Holy Spirit is not to take a good thing and make it even better. Preaching the truth in one’s own strength is destructive (1 Corinthians 1:17). “The word is not in him.” Preaching the gospel in the power of God is the only true preaching. All lesser preaching is sinful and to be repented of.
May the Lord help all of us pastors! May we resolve, God helping us, never again to preach a single sermon without power from on high — and deep within!
Amen and amen!