Every Day Bible

Luther’s Qualities of a Preacher

In the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther taught passionately the importance of study. In contrast to the Catholic teachings of his day, he emphasized pulpit over altar, preaching over communion. (For good or ill, the pendulum now swings back!)

Luther gave nine “properties and virtues” of a good preacher. What say ye about them?

  1. Teach systematically
  2. Have a ready wit
  3. Be eloquent
  4. Have a good voice
  5. Have a good memory
  6. He should know when to make an end
  7. He should be sure of his doctrine
  8. He should venture and engage body and blood, wealth and honour, in the word.
  9. He should suffer himself to be mocked and jeered of everyone.

Luther’s Table-Talk: ‘Of preachers and preaching’ quoted in Stott’s Between Two Worlds

Every Day Bible

The Presence of God in Preaching

When preachers lose track of God, their sermons get pushier. Not only that, when God is most absent in their lives, they are all the more present. The quieter God gets, the louder they get.

Barbara Brown Taylor raises the same issue:

Sometimes I think we do all the talking because we are afraid God won’t. Or, conversely, that God will. Either way, staying preoccupied with our own words seems a safer bet than opening ourselves up either to God’s silence or God’s speech, both of which have the power to undo us.

So we lose God when he’s quiet, because we’re too loud. We run from him when he gets loud, because we cannot stand the storm of his coming. Either way, we often come to the pulpit without him, having no clear remembrance of our last real conversation.

From Calvin Miller’s “Sermon Maker” page 18.