Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Spurgeon on preachers who should be thrown out of the pulpit

From the Prince of Preachers:
Natural humor may possibly be consecrated and made to wear the yoke of Christ, but he who apes it is no true man. If you find us a man who has any object in this world in what he says but the glory of God, and the winning of souls, he is the man who is out of center, and into his secret may we never come. And furthermore, if you discover a preacher who is indelicate, and causes the cheek of modesty to tingle, let him be cast out of the pulpit, and the door locked against him. We have known men of the Slop-dash order who would have been nothing if they had not been outrageous, and of these it may be said that they were worse than nothing when they followed their own style. There was nothing in their absurdities to excuse them, for they were not carried away by zeal, nor did the excellence of their matter make up for the ridiculousness of their manner. Of such men we will neither be defender nor judge.
-From Eccentric Preachers


Andrew said...

It is true that some humor arises naturally and requires an awkward effort to suppress it. Sometimes it is unplanned and unavoidable when some great irony bubbles up to the surface and I think it is only human to smile at this “natural humor.” The Bible itself is full of irony.

But that is completely different from the kind of humor that is sometimes heard from the pulpit today (and apparently it is nothing new!). “Shock humor” is the crudest way to get a laugh. There is no God-honoring reason to intentionally say things that almost cross the line. If it becomes a contrived effort to capture the congregation’s attention with something other than Christ, then he should be yanked from the pulpit.

Do I understand the prince of preachers correctly?

BTW Douglas Wilson wrote a book on how Christians ought to use humor. I haven't read it yet but it's on my reading list. I hope he addresses the appropriateness of humor in preaching.

Rev.J. Theodore Helms said...

Brother, I wonder what would happen if the folks at Lakewood read this. Nothing.

Caddiechaplain said...

I would agree with what Spurgeon said and state further that the constant use of illustration over exposition would be grounds for "he should be yanked from the pulpit." as well.

scripturesearcher said...

Often ~ very often ~ I give thanks to my sovereign Lord for allowing some of His finest servants to touch and influence my life ~ and ministry of more than 53 years.

There are so many! Spurgeon is at the top of my list!

Though imperfect, as all humans are, Spurgeon (all his available
published books) should be read and
studied by all Christians, and by
preachers especially.

Seth McBee said...

so...your saying that Spurgeon and Driscoll would have some "words" for each other?

If only I could be a fly on the wall...

Greg B said...

Caddie Chaplain:
Please let me in on why you include over-illustration in with coarse or over used "unnatural" humor. I think that the use of good illustration is actually something we underuse, and makes using unnatural humor such a temptation.

Grosey's Messages said...

Here are some statements to balance the matter:

AT Peirson “Biblical examples might be collated of every sort of weapon to be found in the whole armory of humor – wit, satire, irony, retort, ridicule, raillery, drollery, play on words – these and other forms of the ludicrous are employed by prophets, apostles, and some of them even by our Lord Himself as a means to rebuke and expose error and wrong and vindicate truth and right.”

Since the Bible deals with people, and people are funny everywhere because they have been created by God to make and enjoy the incongruous, then the Bible necessarily contains snatches of the humorous.

Dr. Barnhouse comments:
There are some things in the Bible that cause me to chuckle and there is a thought in connection with this verse that always has had that effect on me. I cannot help but think of what must have happened when Abraham broke the news to his family and servants that he was now changing his name . . . Were there some who said to themselves with a laugh, “The old man couldn’t take it. It got under his skin after all these years. After all, to be father of nobody for eighty-six years and then to be the father of only one, with a name like he has . . . must have its rough moments. So he is going to change his name. I wonder what it will be.” And then the old man spoke. “I am to be known as Abraham – father of a multitude.” We can almost hear the silence of the stunned moment as the truth breaks upon them. Father of a multitude? Then the laughter broke forth behind the scenes. Father of a multitude! Was there anything more ridiculous for a man of his age?
Jesus used humor. Since humor is integrally wrapped up with human nature, He who knew what was in man could not fail to employ it. Because wit and wisdom are closely allied, He who was all truth would be capable of wit. Inasmuch as a principal factor in humor is the ridiculous or absurd, wit served as an excellent vehicle to expose the inconsistencies of religious hypocrites. Since humor sometimes spotlights truth, the Master Pedagogue would naturally use it.
Hastings’ remark summarizes this well. “He is a man speaking to men in the language of men; and pathos, contrast humor and spontaneity are the natural and pleasant marks of that language. A smile is felt in His words, as in the words of all who see contradiction without loss of inner peace.”

GUNNY said...

"natural humor" ...

If one is funny looking, is that okay? I mean, if he comes by it honest.

That's how I get most of my laughs. They may be cheap laughs, but it's consoling to know that though they're not laughing with me, but at me.

Thus, I've helped them bring forth the Fruit of the Spririt ... JOY.

Helping people to glorify God as they exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit? As a pastor, I've done my job.
; )

Mark said...

I just listened to part of E Caners "sermon" on James White's blog. I think this sermon is what Pastor Spurgeon is talking about.

All fluff, no substance.

And no, I am not picking on Caner. I have personally heard him preach. What you will hear is typical. And I am sure there are other SBC pastors doing the samething.