Evangelistic preaching

Should information and persuasion constitute the whole of evangelistic preaching?

Preaching (kerussein) is essentially heralding, the proclamation from the King's presence. It is the king's message, undiluted, unchanged.

In any preaching worthy of its name, there must inevitably be information, the recounting of facts, what happened and what is the significance of the facts. The facts are not presented bare and naked; they are interpreted. The preaching of the cross must include a description of historical events, what transpired at Calvary, but the death of Christ and his resurrection are to be interpreted. Such is the testimony of God: His Son died for our sins and was raised for our justification. Those events are meaningful, and the believing acceptance of them spell salvation for the individual soul.

So the four gospels form the bedrock of gospel doctrine. The Saviour is come: his person, works and words are recorded and must likewise be proclaimed in the hearing of all nations.

But evangelistic preaching does not stop there. The preacher has himself experienced the truth and efficacy of his message: he already knows the forgiveness of sins and peace with God. He knows the One who sent him; there is a love relationship involved. He is not a hireling, preaching merely for pay.

He is necessarily caught and enthralled by the message. The love of Christ constrains us....Thus he is not content with passing on the facts, true as they are. True preaching is truth through personality. The love of God, in a certain sense, is seen in the preacher: how he pleads, and earnestly appeals to his audience, convincing them how urgently they need to embrace the goods news. His attitude is not a laissez-faire attitude: take it or leave it. He knows that the eternal destiny of his hearers depends on the reception or rejection of the message (the message of this life, as was called by the angel in Acts).

That is why we never hear of frivolity, joking, or light-heartedness in the New Testament preachers. They are solemn, urgent, and faithful in the fulfillment of their ministry. We often hear of Paul persuading (peithô) Jews in the synagogue and the Greeks in the marketplace about Jesus being the Christ, in whom all the promises of God are yea and amen.

Information (light) and persuasion (heat) form the two essential ingredients for evangelism. The gospel has much content: that must be explained, but not as it were a lecture. The gospel is a matter of life and death: so every legitimate motivation to repent and believe may (rather must) be utilized.