27 April 2013

Luther on Preaching

A young overwhelmed preacher complained to Luther that preaching was too heavy a burden for an inexperienced man like him and that he should have stayed in his former profession. Luther responded with words that, according to Roland Bainton, "Luther was constantly repeating to himself":
If Peter and Paul were here, they would scold you because you wish right off to be as accomplished as they. Crawling is something, even if one is unable to walk. Do your best. If you cannot preach an hour, then preach half an hour or a quarter of an hour. Do not try to imitate other people. Center on the shortest and simplest points, which are the very heart of the matter, and leave the rest to God. Look solely to his honor and not to applause. Pray that God will give you a mouth and to your audience ears. I can tell you preaching is not a work of man. Although I am old [he was 48] and experienced, I am afraid every time I have to preach. . . . So pray to God and leave all the rest to him. 
--Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Hendrickson, 1977), 361

No comments: