Thursday, June 05, 2008

Baxter denounces levity in preaching

I recently ran across these words from Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor on his disdain for levity in gospel preaching:
Of all the preaching in the world, (that speaks not stark lies) I hate that preaching which tends to make the hearers laugh, or to move their minds with tickling levity, and affect them as stage-plays used to do, instead of affecting them with holy reverence of the name of God. Jerome says, 'Teach in thy church, not to get the applause of the people, but to set in motion the groan; the tears of the hearers are thy praises.' The more of God appeareth in our duties, the more authority they will have with men. We should, as it were, suppose we saw the throne of God, and the millions of glorious angels attending him, that we may be awed with his majesty when we draw near him in holy things, lest we profane them and take his name in vain.
(Banner of Truth ed., pp. 119-20).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making note of that passage from The Reformed Pastor. The matter of telling jokes and the felt need to "loosen" up the congregation has always troubled me. We are told throughout Scripture that in coming to worship the Lord that we are to humble ourselves and fear the Lord. Psalm 96:9 says, "Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth." I believe it is to be a solemn hour of joy. Though those two states of experience may seem contradictory, I think they are right for worship. One can be serious and deliberate about something and still be joyful. In fact, I believe it's the biblical prescription for worship.