Bold, Daring Audacity Vs The Pretty Boy Preachers

Dr Steven J. Lawson spoke yesterday to a group of Irish pastors. His subject was “The Gospel Focus Of Charles Spurgeon.” Some of the content was encouraging. Much of it was tremendously challenging. However my ‘personal takeaway’ was Dr Lawson’s discussion of Spurgeon’s bold audacity in the pulpit.

Spurgeon feared no man. Constrained only by the bounds of God’s Word, Spurgeon said what he liked, when he liked, how he liked. The problem with Spurgeon was not that men misunderstood his meaning. The problem was that men understood him completely. Spurgeon’s style was plain, direct, outspoken and urgent. Spurgeon wasn’t trying to be popular. He was trying to bring the ​truth​ to your soul.

In relation to this, Steven Lawson shared two quotes with us.  I believe he had borrowed these from Adrian Rodgers. The first quote was,

The pastor should always enter the pulpit with his resignation letter in his pocket.

The other was:

The problem with preachers today is that no-one wants to kill them anymore.

By my observation, this is often true. Many preachers just want to be ‘nice.’ They cherish being winsome above being earnest. They desire popularity above faithfulness. They tremble more at the thought of offending their congregation, than they fear the thought of offending their God.

In the words of Dr Lawson: there are just too many “pretty boy preachers.”

Pray, God, that I wouldn’t be one of them.

15 thoughts on “Bold, Daring Audacity Vs The Pretty Boy Preachers

  1. If a preacher has become bland, nice and accomodating he is bowing before the spirit of this world and instead bowing to the Lord God Almighty.

  2. I have a dear Scottish pastor that often says, “all the world needs is another nice guy in the pulpit!” Amen. What a balance we must strike; earnestly contending for the faith, in love. Rebuking, correcting and exhorting, but not with a striving spirit. It is men that we must warn, but to Christ we must remain faithful.

    I so appreciate these posts Colin.
    In Christ alone,

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  4. Coming from a fellow who spends a lot of time away from his local church speaking to conferences, I wonder what Dr. Lawson means by his message here?

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  6. I have a couple of thoughts about this, but mostly, am glad for the reminder to be bold, audacious, faithful. Thanks for that, really.

    But in the spirit of boldness, allow me to gently ask:

    1. You say many preachers desire popularity, that tremble, etc. I guess I wonder how you know this? (And is this not two different matters, one who wants to be popular, and one who is afraid of speaking truth?) I suppose this is universal — Paul warned against tickling the ears, after all — but I detect in all these rather common exhortations to be bold this equally common judgement that seems to name other preacher’s problems, as if you know what is true in their hearts. How do you know this about so “many” of your colleagues in the pulpit? Have you ever heard many confess that they just want to be popular? I think lambasting other preachers about how bad their motivations are is simply speculation and therefore unwarranted. If you know this to be true, though, then maybe you should take it up with them. Otherwise, this workshop offered you vain speculation, including inappropriate gossiping, trafficking in self righteousness. If the fruit of the workshop, your “take away” was how bad most others are, with this rather simplistic assessment, as if this problem (fear of others) is the main problem in preaching today, then perhaps the event wasn’t as helpful as it might have been. You may not have intended to sound so self righteous, but that’s how I took it.

    2. One of the guys who commented above even went so far as to say if a preacher is bland he is bowing to worldiness. See what kind of nastiness this line of thought creates? Couldn’t you give a boring preacher the benefit of the doubt and consider that, uh, he’s just a bland preacher? So the guy has it all figured out: bad preachers don’t bow before God. What judgmentalism! I’d be careful of this mean-spiritedness, friends, rather than making such wild, unsubstantiated claims.

    Of course, I do not doubt that there are some who sadly don’t have their hearts right when they preach. I suppose that there are Christian celebrities who may have these problems you deplore. I just can’t say how common it is, and don’t feel comfortable hearing such a general lambasting of so many, calling them names, etc. It’s just a cheap shot in my view, maybe illustrative of some sort of self-righteousness. If you want ardor and the courage to be audacious, go for it. But why not start here, and have the courage not to gossip about other preachers who you do not know or whose situation you may now understand. At the very least, why not offer the caveat that you “think” or “worry” or “wonder” if this is what might be going on in the hearts of your fellow preachers?

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  8. It’s been said we are called to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. My observation is the comfortable are often very powerful within the Church.

  9. Byron,

    I think you have misread the tone I intended in this post. I wasn’t trying to be mean spirited to anyone. The ‘take away’ from the workshop was more for my own soul, than for anyone else. That’s why I ended my post with a prayer that I wouldn’t slip into cowardice when I preach.

    Having said that, I actually have spoken to many men in the ministry who have confessed to feeling fearful about preaching bold truths that some in their congregations may dislike. I have confessed the same reticence to some of them. I think its clear from Scripture that the fear of man can be a snare to all of us, and I doubt there are any of us who would prefer NOT to be liked. As pastors, we do ‘take it up with each other’ in love, and discuss how we might combat the fear of man and the lure of popularity. This is not judgmentalism. It is spurring one another on to greater faithfulness.

    I think it is unfortunate and unwarranted that you have accused me of judgementalism, self-righteousness and gossip.

  10. Byron,

    It seems a chord has been struck with you?

    If you wish to rail carelessly against others
    for their sincere and measured criticism
    of what is certainly (no speculation needed)
    a widespread problem, you might in hindsight
    rather choose to not demonize a select few
    which have made themselves offensive to
    many; rather, allow searching reflection to
    come near those near to you, and to–yes–
    even to yourself.

    Preaching against wronging God in others
    and in ourselves is not self-righteousness;
    it is to not abide by that which is abhorrent
    to God, and dangerous for man.


  11. @ worried

    Dr Lawson has the blessing and encouragement of his congregation to minister to a wider audience than just them. They realize that he is a blessing to the church and want to share that with others. He has qualified and competent elders to preach for him when he is out, however, just because he is out during the week, does not mean that he is out of the pulpit on Sunday.

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