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Why the Preacher Is Necessary to Preaching

Sermons are embodied truth—and that truth comes through you.

Most sermons begin with prayer. Often it is a prayer which asks God to hide the preacher from view. "Let my words be forgotten, so that only what comes from you is remembered" the preacher intones. I have heard experienced pastors say this as often as students. It is easy to see why. It is a terrifying thing to take the word of God upon your lips. Like the apostle Paul, we do not always feel that we are equal to the task. We do not want to get in God's way. We do not want to obscure the message and we don't want to embarrass ourselves or speak anything that we will have to recant later. We wonder if God might not be better served if our preaching were like the Cheshire cat's grin. That is to say, we think it would be better if we just disappeared, so that only his Word remained.

Such prayers are well intended but misguided, if only because the first petition hardly requires an act of God. Forgetting what the preacher has said is a common occurrence among our hearers, an accomplishment which ...

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