This last Friday, I had the privilege of being in Vancouver to give Dr. James I. Packer an honorary doctorate and to interview him for the Westminster website. The interview will be posted on the Westminster site in the next week or two. Suffice it to say that, if I had known what answer he was to give on my question about the damaging effect of upper class English public (for US, read private) schoolboys on Anglican theology, I would have walked from Philadelphia to Vancouver in my bare feet. Nay, on my knees in the rain. I love talking to someone who shares the same basic prejudices that I do.
One other question I did ask was about Dr Lloyd-Jones. 'He took more of God into the pulpit with him than any other preacher I have ever known,' was Dr Packer's reply. One can be nostalgic about the past, but I wonder how many of this generation's archetypal, aspirational model preachers will have that said about them thirty years after their death? They were funny; they had huge churches; they took more stand up comedy into the pulpit -- or onto the stage -- than anybody else; they looked cool; they were branded and puffed by the powerful evangelical patrons as role models for the rest of us; they had great hair-does; they were so hip and young, at least until it became painfully obvious that they had passed forty many years before. I can imagine all these things being said. But that they took so much of God into the pulpit? That seems somehow less likely.
Those of us who preach need to reflect on Dr Packer's comment, repent daily of our pride and pray without ceasing that we take God, not ourselves, or Chris Rock, or our mastery of street talk or postmodernism, into the pulpit with us. A preacher should be remembered not for the numbers he once attracted or for his slick engagement with the wider culture but for whether he spoke the words of God as a man of God.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Taking God into the pulpit...
From Carl Trueman: