Saturday, August 16, 2014

J I Packer on Preaching: Knowing Notions or Knowing God?

"The first requirement for authoritative, perceptive communication of the word of God is that you yourself should be experiencing the power of it. The Puritan John Owen said, 'A man only preaches that sermon well which first preaches itself in his own soul.' He was profoundly right, I would verify that from my own ministry... If we are not ourselves living in and under the Scriptures, those who hear us speak on fellowship with God will soon realize that we do not know what we are talking about... The quantity of theological notions in one's mind, even correct notions, doesn't say anything about one's relationship with God. The fact that one knows a lot of theology doesn't mean that one's relationship with God is right or is going to be right. The two things are quite distinct... My times with the Bible, like those of all pastoral leaders, indeed all Christians, are meant to be times for knowing God."
-- J I Packer, Knowing Notions or Knowing God
[Knowing Notions or Knowing God is from The Collected Shorter Writings of J. I. Packer: Volume 3: Honouring the Written Word of God by J. I. Packer (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1999), pp. 241-246.  Knowing Notions or Knowing God was originally published in Pastoral Renewal 6.9 (March, 1982), pp. 65-68.]

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