I am left wondering why in our free churches there is so much preaching which is verbose, waffly, imprecise and generally wandery. I seem to have experienced this over a period of time. When I hear it I am left feeling there is something wrong here. It seems to be that our Anglican brothers in Christ are not afflicted in the same way.
My tentative conclusion is that the influence of Dr Lloyd-Jones can be seen in this realm. He obviously was a remarkable man and exceptionally gifted. He could, thrillingly, carry off this method of not being precise with points or concise with language. He was simply a brilliant man with a great ability to communicate.
Moreover, there was the latent emphasis with him that the Spirit could catch hold of everything and the message would just go on. Now, I would want to emphasise that we need the Holy Spirit in all of our preaching. Preaching without the Spirit acting to glorify the Son through the Word of the Lord, is deathly. But, the emphasis I am concerned about here, seems to have provided a spiritual mask for what is essentially sloppiness in preparation and delivery when adopted by others.
The form of preaching, I am referring to, has largely held sway in free church circles over the last fifty years. The problem is that most of us are mere mortals and not on a level with Dr Lloyd-Jones and therefore cannot carry it off. As a consequence, there is a lot of aimless preaching which drifts here and there. I would say that Stuart Olyott, in my experience, is a notable exception to this rule. He is a model of conciseness and economy of expression to bring the maximum effect. And, no doubt, there are many others of Mr Olyott’s ilk.
I wrote here about John Stott and it is my conclusion that his legacy in Anglican circles means that their preaching largely excels that in free churches. Hence, those trained in a context of Anglican influences are better prepared for effective ministry.
I am making vast generalisations in this post. I am very concerned though about the preaching I hear. I therefore muse in the ways expressed above. I may be leaping to wrong conclusions and would welcome any correctives if you, dear reader, are able to give them.