I recently finished reading a book entitled “The Expository Genius of John Calvin.” It is one of the “Long Line of Godly Men” profile series published by Ligonier Ministries’ Reformation Trust.
The author, Steven Lawson, concludes this book with a call for the church today to “try something old.” He is concerned, and I think rightfully so, that just as “the organized church was spiritually bankrupt at the outset of Calvin’s day, so it is again in our time.”
What are we to do? We must do what Calvin and the Reformers did so long ago. There are no new remedies for old problems. We must come back to old paths. We must capture the centrality and pungency of biblical preaching once again. There must be a decisive return to preaching that is Word-driven, driven, God-exalting, Christ-centered, and Spirit-empowered.
Lawson finishes the book with an extended quote from another great expository preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon. This quote, taken from Spurgeon’s autobiography, is another call to return to the clear and simple preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We want again Luthers, Calvins, Bunyans, Whitefields, men fit to mark eras, whose names breathe terror in our foemen’s ears. We have dire need of such. Whence will they come to us? They are the gifts of Jesus Christ to the church, and will come in due time. He has power to give us back again a golden age of preachers, and when the good old truth is once more preached by men whose lips are touched as with a live coal from off the altar, this shall be the instrument in the hand of the Spirit for bringing about a great and thorough revival of religion in the land…. I do not look for any other means of converting men beyond the simple preaching of the gospel and the opening of men’s ears to hear it. The moment the church of God shall despise the pulpit, God will despise her. It has been through the ministry that the Lord has always been pleased to revive and bless His churches.
Let us try something old. Let us return to the exposition of God’s Word in our churches and the study of God’s Word in our lives.
Grace and Peace,