Friday, August 25, 2006

J.B. Gambrell on the kind of preaching we need

J. B. Gambrell was Southern Baptist leader whose life spanned the War Between the States and the First World War. He served as editor of two state Baptist newspapers as well as teacher at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Corresponding Secretary of the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and 3 terms (1917-1920) as President of the Southern Baptist Convention. His call for a certain kind of preaching is more needed today than it was when he originally issued it.
We may invigorate our faith and renew our courage by reflecting that divine power has always attended the preaching of doctrine, when done in the true spirit of preaching. Great revivals have accompanied the heroic preaching of the doctrines of grace, predestination, election, and that whole lofty mountain range of doctrines upon which Jehovah sits enthroned, sovereign in grace as in all things else. God honors the preaching that honors him. There is entirely too much milk-sop preaching nowadays trying to cajole sinners to enter upon a truce with their Maker, quit sinning and join the church. The situation does not call for a truce, but for a surrender. Let us bring out the heavy artillery of heaven, and thunder away at this stuck-up age as Whitefield, Edwards, Spurgeon, and Paul did and there will be many slain in the Lord raised up to walk in newness of life.


Howard Fisher said...

If I didn't know who that quote was from, I would have assumed a Founders.......


Glad to hear we are not alone in this race.

Jared Wall said...

This quote reminds me of something I recently read in Democracy and Education by John Dewey (I am a Doctoral Student in Education. Sorry:()

Dewey related that when a rock or other non-living matter is struck by a force gretaer than itself it shatters into pieces. Living organisms on the other hand fight against the greater force and try to turn the other force into energy for ccontinued existence. This reminds me of the churches and christians I meet today. They hold to the Dewey inspired theory of self preservation as it regards their time, their money, their stuff, and their soul.

It is about time we again preach the truths of scripture. One of those truths is that unless one die to self and be born again of the Spirit in Christ, they will surely die and go to hell. Death to sin and self is what we must proclaim. There can be no life except first we die. Ah but then we are raised with Him to walk in newness of life. There is no longer a need then to resist the Lord, but an ever increasing freedom to conform to His will.

irreverend fox said...

I didn't know that J.B. Gambrell was a charismatic! I can't believe that he promoted the slain in the Spirit doctrine!

I thought that doctrine was made up by Benny Hinn...I guess I was WAY wrong.


Thank God for the faithfulness of His servants in years past!

We modern have so much to learn from most of them!

Chip said...

"Milk-sop preaching" -- I love that characterization. Apparently the temptation to back off of the "harder" doctrines so as not to "offend" the hearer is nothing new.

Timmy said...

What a good word. I wonder how many sermons, articles, and even books in Southern Baptist life are consonant with what Mr. Gambrell stated that we have yet to know about. Thank you Tom for helping us understanding the leadership and convictions which comprised Southern Baptists in the past. I pray we have this kind of preaching in our generation and the future.

Aaron L. Turner said...

This quote stirrs my heart! Oh may God help us to be that kind of preacher! How desparately we are in need of His grace to be so!

Jeffro said...


I know. Eloquent right, but it's all that comes to mind.

David B. Hewitt said...

Yes, thank you Dr. Tom for this timely article.


Forest A said...

"God honors the preaching that honors him."

What an excellent quote! May God raise us up as men devoted to the true preaching of His word and use us as His instruments in calling others to Himself.

Larry Brown said...

Tom, thank you for this article. Man's condition "does not call for truce but for surrender." In our age many preachers and churches are proponents of a truce.

The Rich Young Ruler came to Jesus with the question of the ages, "What must I do to be saved." The Lord's answer amounted to "surrender." I must confess that up to eight years ago, I would have answered with three questions: 1. "Will you agree that you are a sinner?" 2. "Do you believe God loves you and wants you saved?" 3. "Will you pray and ask the Lord to come into your heart?" If he answered yes to these three questions, I would have invited him to repeat a prayer. That is not what Jesus did. He sent him away sorrowful. Dr. Gambrell's statement reminds us that God is in control of man's heart. He will take care of the convicting and the saving if we will be faithful to tell everyone we meet about Jesus and allow Him to take care of the results.

The Word is clear. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (Joh 1:11-13) Please refer to my bible study (He Came Unto His Own) on this passage at

We don't need more gimmicks to get people down the aisle. We need more trust in our Sovereign God.