The Company of Preachers: Wisdom on Preaching, Augustine to the Present

Lischer, Richard, ed.

Eerdmans, 2002

p. 313

p. 313, from John Broadus, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons (1889 ed.): “Rhetoric has to do with the use we make of material, the choice, adaptation, arrangement, expression. But after all the material itself is more important . . . The things which ought most to be thought of by the preacher, are piety, and knowledge, and the blessing of God. Skill, however valuable, is far less important than these; and there is danger that rhetorical studies will cause men to forget that such is the case. It is lamentable to see how often the remarks upon preaching made by preachers themselves, in conversation and in newspaper critiques, are confined to a discussion of the performance and the performer. Unsympathetic listeners or readers have, in such cases, too much ground for concluding that preachers are anxious only to display skill and gain oratorical reputation.”

p. 313

from John Broadus, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons (1889 edition): “The danger of artificiality in speaking is very great. When one begins, he is apt to feel awkward in the new and strange situation. As one unaccustomed to riding on horseback must learn to sit naturally, and feel at ease in the saddle, so very many speakers, perhaps all, have to learn to be natural.” Broadus goes on to critique the seminary habit of having students practice preach in front of their classmates and professors. It’s unnatural and awkward, and will encourage artificiality. Let the student of preaching instead present only on a subject of genuine spiritual need to them, and only with “a most earnest and prayerful effort to do them good. . . Let them preach where it can be real preaching, or not at all.”