Advice for Hearing Sermons by John Newton

Excerpted from the entire letter:

Some persons are so curious, or rather so weak, that, if their favorite minister is occasionally absent, they hardly think it worth their while to hear another. A judicious and faithful minister, in this case, instead of being delighted with such a mark of peculiar attachment to himself, will be grieved to think that they have profited no more by his labors; for it is his desire to win souls, not to himself, but to Jesus Christ.

And:

Entreat the Lord, who knows better than you do yourself, to guide you where your soul may be best fed, and when your choice is fixed, you will do well to make a point of attending his ministry constantly, I mean at least at the stated times of worship on the Lord’s day.

These quotes are from John Newton and published over at the Protestant Pulpit.

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3 Responses to Advice for Hearing Sermons by John Newton

  1. Keith Call says:

    Perhaps there should be other elements than a charismatic preacher as the “center” of Sunday worship? What about a weekly Lord’s Table, or something more constant than the pastor, whose preaching might prove to be variable at best? Not every church can or would do a weekly Table, but it does provide a thoroughly biblical constant. For those worried about becoming weary of it, what about singing or praying? These are done weekly, as well.

    • sethmeyers says:

      Scripture does not require the pastor to be a type A personality, but it does require character and the ability to teach the Bible. This is certainly not too much to ask from every local assembly–even in the developing world.

      But as far as liturgical order, yes, there could be more in the service than the average IFB Sunday meeting. The Lord’s Table, group testimonies, and reading a chapter from Old and New Testaments each week might help.

      And can’t anything become stale if it is not done carefully and with preparation?

      • Keith Call says:

        In addition to the liturgy within the church, we must keep an eye to the exterior, too. Beauty within, beauty without. There is an odd notion that Protestants and other nonconformists did not, historically, pay attention to beautiful worship space. But if you visit the old neighborhoods and slums of Chicago, Detroit or Philadelphia, you will see magnificent church structures that were built by Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians. Many of those buildings are awaiting the wrecking ball. When they disappear, so does the sensibility that built them in the first place.

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