SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. (BNC) — After Father’s Day this year, gospel preacher Paul Holland began preaching some of his father’s sermons in his honor.
Paul pulled out a random number of his dad’s sermons and analyzed them. He made these observations.
Assuming these lessons are representative, what can we say? First, Dad’s lessons were eminently practical. He tried very hard to give people in the pew something to do in response to Christ. Second, while Dad avoided in-depth doctrinal studies in his sermons (like the atonement; he reserved those for Bible class), he tied most lessons into the Christ on the cross. Third, Dad was evangelistic at heart. He wanted souls to come to Jesus whom he loved and preached. Fourth, Dad’s lessons were weighted heavily on thematic studies rather than expository studies (as I prefer). Fifth, Dad’s lessons were largely optimistic with few lessons that could be considered “brow beating.”
Paul’s dad left a lucrative career to preach. He worked with small congregations. Paul inherited his dad’s sermons.
“Many (about half) of these sermons are hand-written. Dad never owned a computer while he was a full-time preacher,” Paul wrote.
It has become fashionable within the last two decades to criticize that generation of older preachers. I’m currently reading a book, published in 1990, which does just that. They looked at the Bible “too scientifically,” or they didn’t preach about the cross, or they didn’t preach about the atonement or they didn’t preach about grace. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Paul said he’d never preach most of his dad’s sermons, only because they don’t fit his style. While his dad used mostly a topical approach, that doesn’t mean he disrespected the biblical context.
While Dad filled his lessons with Scripture, this does not mean he quoted those Scriptures out of context. The apostle Paul strung together Scriptures in order to prove his point but when you study their Old Testament context, you see that he was very cognizant of their original context. The same would be true of Dad and that generation of preachers.
Paul takes modern church critics to task.
“The older generation of preachers do not deserve the modern generation’s condescending attitude or contempt,” he wrote. “It seems to me the collective memory of these critics is decidedly incomplete. Every generation has the obligation to go back to the Scriptures and study and learn the sacred truths for itself.”
The critics also forget an important truth.
“Also, let us be thankful that there is a current generation of Christians because my Dad’s generation studied the Word, loved the Word, taught the Word and lived that Word. May we follow their example!” Paul reminds us.
Paul’s article was published in his “Daily Droplets” devotional, which can be read in its entirety here.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us