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Inspired and Inspiring

You can't take either for granted

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As Dean of Chapel and professor of preaching at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, you hear a lot of preaching. How much would you characterize as inspiring?
Recently I counted the number of sermons I listened to in a two-day span, and it was 63. How many would I characterize as inspiring? The minority.

We prize biblical preaching. If a sermon flows from the truth of Scripture, how can it fail to appeal to the emotions, to inspire the hearer to action?
Because Scripture is not the only element in preaching. If it were, we would not need workshops on Preaching Today; we would not need all the textbooks and conferences. We would just stand up and read the Scripture, or just work through it verse-by-verse, and the job would be accomplished.

But the preacher is involved, and if the preacher has a spiritual defect or is hypocritical or in some way hindering the flow of that message, then it probably will not inspire. We all know Phillips Brooks's famous definition of preaching— truth through personality. ...

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