Friday, April 16, 2010

T4G Another Reflection

Following a remark that John MacArthur made regarding his approach to preaching (preaching to the mind primarily rather than an emphasis on the heart or the will) Mike and I had a conversation wondering how that applies. Was that a regulative statement MacArthur recommends to all or more of personal confession?

We are emotional creatures and certainly if we love God will our entire being our emotions should be fervently his. I can preach gut wrenching stories using music to set the atmosphere and hopefully touch the strings of the heart so that people have a burning desire to come to God. And yet, the emotions of the moment cause us to do so many things that we quickly set aside.

What about our will? Certainly we must choose to follow Christ. I am not speaking merely in the sense of responding to God's salvation call (general and specific) but also our choice every day to deny self, take up one's cross, and follow Jesus. People need to know they must choose and set their will toward Christ. Yet our will is tied so deeply to our desires and world perspective, choice is not enough. I can choose sincerely. I can sincerely, earnestly, and best-intentionally choose the wrong path.

What about preaching to the mind? We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. People need to think things through so that they are not simply following their 'gut' feeling nor choosing out of their own wisdom. Yet, our minds can concoct all sorts of ideas and inventions. It is the Word of God and the wisdom of God at work in the person that makes the difference. But we are not merely intellectual beings. We have will. We have hearts. We are a mixture.

At the time, our discussion (Mike and myself) was probably briefer than the time it took for me to type this out. Our 'off the cuff' conclusion was a reminder that MacArthur is preaching to a certain group of people....who face their unique challenges and temptations.

But on Thursday morning, we experienced a deeper understanding of preaching to mind, will, and heart. C. J. Mahaney preached a message to the pastors. It was an encouragement and admonition to enduring faithfulness to the call. It was a passionate sermon from a passionate man. MacArthur's message to us was certainly passionate, but not as 'emotional'. We saw two men who brought us the Word of God.....after it had flowed through their hearts, souls, and minds. God spoke through both of these was speaking to our minds and touched our hearts. The other spoke to our hearts and touched our minds. Both implanted a deeper to desire to choose to follow Christ all the more.

The lesson learned.....As ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ, God created us to speak to the people in our mission fields only as the word flows through us. We are not parrots who simply mimic the words and personality of someone else. We are uniquely created, wonderfully redeemed, and specifically equipped for our mission field. May the Word dwell richly in us so that Christ will flow through us so that the lost will be saved, the saved will be discipled, and --- and above all else --- the Father will be glorified through the Son.


  1. Terry - I wandered about this statement too. Thank you for connecting those two messages and what they mean to us in ministry situations - you helped my understanding of it.

  2. I deeply appreciate and resonate with your last prayer, that the Word would dwell richly in us to the overflowing praise of the Triune God. Amen.
    I took MacArthur's statement to me normative of how Biblical persuasion works, that appeals to emotion and the will are through statements or illustrations or explanations or applications of Biblical truth. If this axiom is true, "What you behold, you become" (from Piper, paraphrasing 2 Cor. 3:18), then we want to place a true vision of Christ before our people that speaks to their affections (in Edwardsian language, heart + will = affections) through their understanding. This seems to be the most effective means of transformation, and this seems to be what Jesus did in parables and what Paul did as he reasoned in the synagogues.

    Now, you point out the different styles of Mahaney and MacArthur. I'd also point out the different styles of Thabiti Anabyale and John Piper, how they use humor so differently - and powerfully, each in his own way. These guys all used the emotions, but they did so to help us understand more, not merely respond in the moment - as you so aptly said.

    I think in a nut-shell, we're preaching to proclaim the truth of God, not to conjour up responses from men's hearts, trusting that the truth of the Gospel is powerful enough to bring hearts to life through faith and repentance. What do you think?
    Btw, I loved reading your post. It's a refreshing change of style, no offense to Mike. :)



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...