rules for a preacher circa 1888, rule 7

Avoid all affectation.  A preacher of the gospel is the servant of all. 

Now there is a word we don’t use much any more, affectation.  It means to speak with photopretense or artificial speech that is meant to impress.  This is a great rule for anyone who speaks publicly but especially for a person whose main job it is to communicate the gospel.  There are two big reasons for this rule, theological and practical.

It is theologically inconsistent for people who communicate the gospel to put themselves on display.  As Paul says, He did not come to preach with human words of wisdom, least the cross be emptied of its power.   Preaching is different from any other speech precisely because the Holy Spirit is in it.  When personality gets in the way, guess what begins to lose power?  People begin to follow the preacher rather than Jesus.

Rule seven is practical for preachers as well.  Think about it, there is a guy (frequently male) every week that preaches the gospel.  Then maybe he throws in some stories that make him look like the hero, because we all tend to do that.  Then all of the sudden, there is a man on stage that begins to look better than most husbands in the audience.  Then one of the ladies casually mentions to a girlfriend, “I wish my husband read the Bible as much as the Pastor.” Boom! That’s how affairs of the heart begin.  Typically, we live out the desires of our heart.


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