Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The false prophet is always a very comforting preacher. As you listen to him he always gives you the impression that there is not very much wrong. He admits, of course, that there is a little; he is not fool enough to say that there is nothing wrong. But he says that all is well and will be well. “Peace, peace,” he says…And, as the Old Testament adds devastatingly and with such terrifying truth about religious people then and now, “my people love to have it so.” Because it never disturbs and makes you feel uncomfortable…Very comforting, very reassuring always is the false prophet in his sheep’s clothing; always harmless and nice, always, invariably, attractive.
WILLIAM TIPTAFT (1803-1864): It is a bad sign when a minister has the smiles of worldly professors.
RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): It must be serious preaching that will make men serious in hearing and obeying it.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Our business is not to entertain people…The purpose of true gospel preaching is not to entertain, but to lead people to salvation, and to teach them how to find God.
J. W. ALEXANDER (1804-1859): The attraction of the modern pulpit is something altogether different from any spiritual quality. It indicates a sickly mind in the Christian public.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Present-day preaching does not even annoy men, but leaves them precisely where they were, without a ruffle and without the slightest disturbance…The church is regarded as a sort of dispensary where drugs and soothing mixtures are distributed and in which everyone should be eased and comforted. And the one theme of the church must be “the love of God.” Anyone who happens to break these rules and who produces a disturbing effect upon members of his congregation is regarded as an objectionable person.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): It is a poor sermon that gives no offence; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: If ever anyone knew the love of God, if ever “the love of God” was preached and understood by anyone, that one was Jesus Christ. Yet what was the effect He produced upon His congregations? Did all go home from the service smiling and happy, and feeling very self-satisfied and complacent? Was His perfect ministry one in which no one was offended and at which no one took umbrage?
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): To preach is to get the evil will of the world.
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Nor is this opposition confined to the world—so called.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you,” John 15:18. What “world” hated Christ and hounded Him to death? The religious world, those who pretended to be most zealous for God’s glory. So it is now. Let the Christian turn his back upon a Christ-dishonouring Christendom, and his fiercest foes and most relentless and unscrupulous enemies will be those who claim to be Christians themselves!
FRANCES BEVAN (1827-1909): The offence of the cross has not ceased, and though the enmity of the world may be shown in a less savage manner than in the days of our fathers, it is still true that those of whom all men shall speak well are those to whom Christ speaks the awful words, “Woe unto you!”
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Is it not clear, as you take a bird’s-eye view of Church history, that the decadent periods and eras in the history of the Church have always been those periods when preaching had declined? What is it that always heralds the dawn of a Reformation or of a Revival? It is renewed preaching. Not only a new interest in preaching but a new kind of preaching.
A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used…There must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes―and I pray God there will be not one but many―he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God on earth.
FRANCES BEVAN: The world will turn an ear to those who have the world’s sanction and authority, but it is amongst those whom men separate from their company, and whose names they cast out as evil, that we shall find the truest of the messengers of God.
J. W. ALEXANDER: With few exceptions the Reformers were mighty preachers.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Martin Luther was pre-eminently a great preacher. So was John Calvin. Let us not forget this. These men were, first and foremost, regular preachers and great preachers. You cannot think of John Knox in Scotland for a moment without thinking of his great preaching and of the way in which Mary Queen of Scots would tremble as she listened to him. She was more afraid of his preaching than of the troops which the English sent to take her captive. The same was true of Zwingli in Switzerland.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): How few are our apostolic men! We want again Luthers, Calvins, Bunyans, Whitefields, men fit to mark eras, whose names breathe terror in our foemen’s ears. We have dire need of such. Where are they? Whence will they come to us?
J. W. ALEXANDER: If Apostolic preaching could reappear, while it would be mighty in its effects upon the assembly and on multitudes, it would probably answer no demands of the schools or the stage; but would be unartificial, expository, simple, paternal, brief, natural, varied, gushing, and eminently spiritual.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: A revival of true preaching has always heralded these great movements in the history of the Church. And, of course, when the Reformation and Revival came they have always led to great and notable periods of the greatest preaching that the Church has ever known. As that was true in the beginning as described in the book of Acts, it was also [true] after the Protestant Reformation. Luther, Calvin, Knox, Latimer, Ridley—all these men were great preachers. In the 17th century you had exactly the same thing—the great Puritan preachers and others. And in the 18th century, Jonathan Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys, Rowlands and Harris were all great preachers. It was an era of great preaching. Whenever you get Reformation and Revival this is always and inevitably the result.
C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): We are persuaded that earnest, faithful preaching is one of the special wants of our day.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): The Christian world is in a deep sleep. Nothing but a loud voice can awaken them out of it.