03 December 2010

A Sermon Is not a Speech

Perhaps not many are aware that Herman Bavinck was a pastor for a year before taking up his first teaching post. Ron Gleason writes of what this was like for the young man, beginning with Bavinck's first Sunday in the pulpit.
Bavinck was to preach his first sermon in his new congregation in the evening service. There is little known about what occurred in the time between the morning and evening services, but when Bavinck walked into the consistory room prior to evening worship he was noticeably distraught. The elders became a little concerned as their newly installed pastor began pacing back and forth. [Bavinck's father] Jan calmed everyone when he explained that his son was simply very much under the impression of what he was about to do: to preach the Word of God.

The Dutch call what was happening to Bavinck 'sermon fever' (preek koorts). It appears that Bavinck, even though he was an accomplished preacher, never outgrew this phenomenon during hiss entire time in Franeker. Hepp's observation that Bavinck would throw up every Sunday morning before he preached might be slightly exaggerated but appears to contain an element of truth.
--Ron Gleason, Herman Bavinck: Pastor, Churchman, Statesman, and Theologian (P&R, 2010), 79

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