Discussing
Sinners in the hands of an angry God!

Andy Rau

Matt Kirkland
April 7, 2008

I've always wished pastors would consider it. It would be SO great to recycle the great sermons of the past. Certainly half the lectures in 'The Weight of Glory' spring to mind.<br><br>Here's a thought: do sermons have to be public-domain to be available for this kind of thing? Would it be like a band doing the occasional cover song?

Rick
April 7, 2008

If you think of a Church meeting as an auditorium filled with unsaved sinners, then sure, deliver “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”. Or if you want to perpetuate the image of the Father as an “Angry God”, sure.<br><br>Sermons are an odd art form, closer in Spirit to Greek oration or sophistry. The pressure of picking a topic, studying all week, rehearsing and delivering a formal 30 minute sermon every Sunday morning must be intimidating and exhausting. And then to see people nodding off or tuning out must be discouraging. Most sermons contain several jokes, humorous anecdotes, a few sports references “how about those Bulldogs last night?” a scriptural pretext, ending with a call for a response. Often I see people scribbling away in notebooks and I always wonder why. I think these are the same people who suffered through college lectures madly scribbling notes and missing the spirit of what was being said.<br><br>How about we just stop these lectures? Perhaps a pastor is better at counseling, leadership, administration or teaching. Why force them to give sermons? How about if we allow more variety in a church meeting, perhaps a short biblical teaching, a word of exhortation from someone, a word of encouragement from another, or if your tradition permits it, a short prophetically inspired message speaking to what the Lord is doing in the congregation given by a trusted member. <br><br>There is plenty of room for a lecture hall, a Bible class, a seminary or even an evangelistic rally where sermons are important. But perhaps not as a steady diet at every church gathering. What do you pastors think?

Doug
April 7, 2008

Thees and thous? That would take some getting used to. As far as having my pastor preach any sermon that is fully written by someone else, I would have a problem. It doesn't matter if that someone is Edwards, Spurgeon, Warren or Hybels. God expects the primary exposition in the church to be performed by the man placed over that church. <br><br>I would love a series like this is an instructional setting, such as a class, but not as the main sermon.

John Blackman
April 8, 2008

I consider preaching a "classic sermon” occasionally usually on occasions like just before a vacation or on a holiday weekend or during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Carlton Palm
April 8, 2008

There are two websites that people should be familiar with:<br><a href="http://edwards.yale.edu" rel="nofollow">http://edwards.yale.edu</a><br>This has a full set of JE's sermons and a curriculum based on "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" directed at high school students.There is a Billy Graham rendition of this sermon in his Los Angeles 1949 crusade;Dr.Ken Minkema describes the events in Los Angeles and Enfield,MA.<br><a href="http://sermonsaudio.com" rel="nofollow">http://sermonsaudio.com</a><br>This site has a reading of the sermon by David Bruce Sommer ;it was ranked second last week to a sermon about Joel Osteen.<br>

Jesse Phillips
April 8, 2008

VERY VERY INTERESTING! Of Course! If we have such a LARGE index of GREAT sermons, why don't we just have the pastor read those?<br><br>I agree! I think the short answer is: Pastors want/need to be original, they want/need credit, if reading classic sermons gets the job done, what do we need them for? What do we need to spend all this money on their salary for?<br><br>As I've gone through crown, and been poor, and thought about the lack of effectiveness of the Church in America - I feel like we're not being good stewards of our resources by paying for a large church staff, and paying a person to talk at us for an hour each week - all the while barely helping the poor, squandering 10% of our income on maintaining a broken system.<br><br>Yes, let's have church at my house (or your house). We can take turns reading classic sermons to each other, sharing encouragement, and use 10% of our income to love our community.

Josiah
April 8, 2008

Make it something special... Every 5th Sunday, Classic Sermon Sunday!

Tony Scialdone
April 8, 2008

I'd preach almost any of Peter Marshall's sermons any day.

Andyrau
April 8, 2008

Jesse, I think you're overlooking a lot of the other tasks that pastors do besides preach sermons. Most pastors I've known, in addition to preaching and directing the worship services, spend a lot of their week doing counseling, visiting the sick, helping the church consistory make sound decisions about church finances and such, coordinating various church ministries, etc.<br><br>My suggestion (which I have admittedly not thought through very thoroughly) is just that by dropping the requirement that pastors come up with a fresh, brand new original sermon each week, pastors might actually be freed up to do MORE ministry during the week.

Andyrau
April 8, 2008

That's a great way to do it, John. Care to share some of the "classics" that you've used?

Andyrau
April 8, 2008

Doug, an honest question for you--where do you see that God commands a church's leader to do original research/preaching each week?

Rick
April 8, 2008

Andy, I agree with you but would go farther. Where do you see a Church having one leader called the Pastor (a word used only once in the Bible) who is tasked with the responsibility of weekly delivering what we now call the Sermon? (realizing that Timothy was an Evangelist, an itinerant missionary, not a Pastor). And yet the Bible is very clear on the form and content of an average New Testament Church meeting. I am not advocating home churches, or the abolition of Pastors. Just more of what has been called "the body ministry" and less of the uninterrupted 30 minute lecture. I do enjoy reading classic sermons BTW.<br>

Doug
April 8, 2008

Andy,<br><br>There are commands in scripture to preach the word. I believe that is what Edwards was doing when he wrote this masterpiece. Edwards developed his points from the scriptures and laid them out to his people in the way best suited for them. You and I were not his target audience. Along those lines, if you read someone else's sermon to a congregation, you remove that portion of the pastoral role of shepherding the flock entrusted to them. <br><br>There are other descriptors of what a sermon is, such as Ezra reading the law and the elders helping the people understand what it entailed in Nehemiah 8. At this point in history, Jewish culture had changed to the point where the people didn't understand what was being told to them with the clarity of their ancestors, not unlike us today. <br><br>The word of God was read and then explained by a contemporary of these people. When the people understood how they had fallen short, they wept aloud and were told by the Levites not to weep, for the joy of the Lord would be their strength. <br><br>I am not opposed to the citing of a famous sermon or other work in a weekly sermon, but nobody can contextualize the scriptures for your congregation the same way that your pastor can.

John Blackman
April 9, 2008

I was using Canadian sarcasm...Canadian sarcasm is almost the same but tastes great while also being less filling.

Andyrau
April 9, 2008

Hah, OK, my apologies. I must've been really tired when reading your comment, or something...

Jeff
September 25, 2008

Doug,<br><br>Are you not underestimating the power of God? The power is in the seed not in the sower. How do you know how God used this sermon to impact the lives of people that hear it?

Andy Barnard
October 16, 2008

I am a pastor and God led me (a couple of months ago) to do what you suggested in this blog viz. to preach some classic sermons. We have taken the theme of 'vintage Christianity' and for the month I have preached Leonard Ravenhill's and Jonathan Edwards' sermons. It's been extremely challenging. <br>I encourage other church leaders to consider doing the same. Let's get back to a 'pre-humanism' Christianity.<br>

John M
September 30, 2010

I do agree that pastors should take some classic sermons and use them. The only down side to this is you may not become as familiar with the passages when you just take another man's notes. So it is important to make sure that you are very familiar with the passage before you preach someone else's sermon.

Add your comment to join the discussion!