Reading a sermon is not preaching

There is the sermon, a sermon which he has prepared; and then there is the ‘act’ of delivering this sermon. Another way of stating it is this. A man came – I think it was actually in Philadelphia – on one occasion to hear the great George Whitefield and asked if he might print his sermons. Whitefield gave this reply: ‘Well, I have no inherent objection, if you like, but you will never be able to put on the printed page the lightning and thunder.’ That is the distinction – the sermon, and ‘the lightning and thunder.’ To Whitefield this was of very great importance, and it should be of very great importance to all preachers, as I hope to show. You can put the sermon into print, but not the lightning and thunder. That comes into the act of preaching and cannot be put into print. Indeed it almost baffles the descriptive powers of the best reporters.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), 58.


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