I have been reading John Stott’s book, “The Preacher’s Portrait”. It is well worth a read particularly if you are a preacher. He deals with the image of the preacher as a steward, herald. witness, father and servant.
From my reading I have been led to dwell upon the issue of proclamation and appeal:-
- Proclamation should always be followed by an appeal, so the truth is presented and then an appeal issues out of that proclamation. The appeal is to bring the listeners to make a response to the truth presented. The reason why and how people should respond should be self-evident from the truth which has been declared
- Implicitly, then the appeal should be connected to the proclamation. It is slap-dash (or even manipulative) to proclaim and then apply in a way which is disconnected from the proclamation.
- An appeal should never be issued without proclamation. So many appeals are groundless; they do not flow out of truth. When someone is asked to trust in Jesus without any prior declaration of truth then the immediate response must be “Why should I?”
- When people are manipulated to respond to an appeal, which had been presented in a vacuum divorced from truth, then the results are likely to be disastrous. I venture to say, that such activity will always lead to outcomes which are fruitless. It will approximate to the seed which fell on the pathway, or on the rocky ground or in the midst of the thorns. There will be no lasting fruit fo God(see Mark 4:13-20).
Let us then proclaim and then make appropriate appeals which are in line with what we have proclaimed.
(Originally published at Venabling on 3rd August 2013)