Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Quotables

From John Stott's Between Two Worlds

“Seldom if ever do I leave the pulpit without a sense of partial failure, a mood of penitence, a cry to God for forgiveness, and a resolve to look to him for grace to do better in the future.” (p 9)

“Preaching is indispensable to Christianity. Without preaching a necessary part of its authenticity is lost. For Christianity is, in its very essence, a religion of the Word of God.” (p 15)

“Our worship is poor because our knowledge of God is poor, and our knowledge of God is poor because our preaching is poor. But when the Word of God is expounded is its fullness, and the congregation begin to glimpse the glory of the living God, they bow down in solemn awe and joyful wonder before his throne. It is preaching which accomplishes this, the proclamation of the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. That is why preaching is unique and irreplaceable.” (p 83)

“The kind of God we believe in determines the kind of sermons we preach.” (p 93)

“We should never presume to occupy a pulpit unless we believe in this God. How dare we speak, if God has not spoken? By ourselves we have nothing to say.” (p 96)

“More often than we like to admit, the pew is a reflection of the pulpit. Seldom if ever can the pew rise higher than the pulpit.” (p 115)

“Preachers are not to invent [the message]; it has been entrusted to them…. It is impressive that in all these New Testament metaphors [for preaching] the preacher is a servant under someone else’s authority, and the communicator of somebody else’s word.” (pp 136-7)

“Jesus Christ, we believe, is the fulfillment of every truly human aspiration. To find him is to find ourselves. Therefore, above all else, we must preach Christ.” (p 151)

“When we proclaim the gospel, we must go on to unfold its ethical implications, and when we teach Christian behavior, we must lay its gospel foundations.” (p 157)

“The best preachers are always diligent pastors, who know the people of their district and congregation, and understand the human scene in all its pain and pleasure, glory and tragedy. And the quickest way to gain such an understanding is to shut our mouth (a hard task for compulsive preachers) and open our eyes and ears.” (p 192)

“Humble listening is indispensible to relevant preaching.” (p 192)

“Supposing that a pastor has this support, what else could keep him from study? Let me be frank. Only one thing: laziness.” (p 208)

“So we need, as I find myself, constantly to repent, and to renew our resolve to discipline our lives and our schedule. Only a constantly fresh vision of Christ and of his commission can rescue us from idleness, and keep our priorities correctly adjusted.” (p 209)

“To search for [the text’s] contemporary message without first wrestling with its original meaning is to attempt a forbidden shortcut.” (p 221)

Commenting on why it is necessary to write out every word of the sermon: “Not because we shall read our sermons, nor because we shall memorize and recite them, but rather because the discipline of clear thinking requires writing…” (p 231)

“Hypocrisy always repels, but integrity or authenticity always attracts.” (p 271)

“A congregation learns the seriousness of the gospel by the seriousness with which their pastors expound it.” (pp 278-9)

“The main objective of preaching is to expound Scripture so faithfully and relevantly that Jesus Christ is perceived in all his adequacy to meet human need.” (p 325)

“The most privileged and moving experience a preacher can ever have is when, in the middle of the sermon, a strange hush descends upon the congregation. The sleepers have woken up, the coughers have stopped coughing, and the fidgeters are sitting still. No eyes or minds are wandering. Everybody is attending, though not to the preacher. For the preacher is forgotten, and the people are face to face with the living God, listening to his still, small voice.” (p 326)

“Why, then, does the power of the Spirit seem to accompany our preaching so seldom? I strongly suspect that the main reason is our pride.” (p 330)

“Self-forgetfulness is an unattainable goal, except as the by-product of preoccupation with Another’s presence, and with his message, his power and his glory.” (p 340)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Cease striving and know that I am God." Beautiful translation; thanks, Josh.