He Is Such a Good Speaker!

Larry Hafley
Plano, Illinois

Far too often "good" preachers are nothing more than eloquent, forceful speakers. Nothing wrong with being an excellent orator mind you, but shallow minded brethren, unable to distinguish between a good speaker and a scriptural sermon, are following dynamic digressives.

Emotional, touching illustrations, death bed tales, and a catchy phrase all have their proper sphere, but they have never proved anything to be in harmony with God's will only His word can do that. Paul said that "good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:18). We, therefore, ought to demand proof that everything we practice in the name of Christ has book, chapter, and verse authority, and not rely on some cute speech that simply says, "It looks like a good idea to us."

Am I "anti-interesting sermons?" No, but I am opposed to silver-tongued preachers who tickle, delight, and awe their audience with little or no specific scriptural references. A good way to fool an audience, that is, pass off good speech as a gospel sermon, is to read a text from the Bible in the beginning. (The audience expects it!) Then ramble on for 30 minutes of interesting thoughts with no scripture. Finally, close with a reference to the plan of salvation, the beauty of heaven, and most people will go away convinced that the gospel has been preached!

By the way, how long has it been since you heard a sermon with its every thought and conclusion based on a verse in the Bible?

September 1969