The Secret of Preaching…

Is to realize that no one will listen…

 He then said, ‘Son of man, go to the House of Israel and tell them what I have said.  You are not being sent to a nation that speaks a difficult foreign language; you are being sent to the House of Israel.  Not to big nations that speak difficult foreign languages, and whose words you would not understand — if I sent you to them, they would listen to you;  but the House of Israel will not listen to you because it will not listen to me.

The whole House of Israel is defiant and obstinate. But now, I am making you as defiant as they are, and as obstinate as they are;  I am making your resolution as hard as a diamond, harder than flint. So do not be afraid of them, do not be overawed by them, for they are a tribe of rebels.’

Then he said, ‘Son of man, take to heart everything I say to you, listen carefully,  then go to your exiled countrymen and talk to them. Say to them, “Lord Yahweh says this,” whether they listen or not.’ (Ezekiel 3)

Your task isn’t to persuade nor to convince.  It is simply to repeat what you’ve been told.  In spite of their indifference.

Any other disposition towards your office will lead to burnout, despair, and abandonment of said office.

To put it plainly- your task is to talk to a brick wall.  That’s it.  Nothing more and nothing less.  Understanding that will free you.  And if by chance some random person does listen once or twice a decade, enjoy the miracle.

‘The Word ‘Trinity’ Isn’t Found in Scripture.’ So What?

Now, then, though heretics may snarl and the excessively fastidious carp at the word Person as inadmissible, in consequence of its human origin, since they cannot displace us from our position that three are named, each of whom is perfect God, and yet that there is no plurality of gods, it is most uncandid to attack the terms which do nothing more than explain what the Scriptures declare and sanction. “It were better,” they say, “to confine not only our meanings but our words within the bounds of Scripture, and not scatter about foreign terms to become the future seed-beds of brawls and dissensions. In this way, men grow tired of quarrels about words; the truth is lost in altercation, and charity melts away amid hateful strife.”

If they call it a foreign term, because it cannot be pointed out in Scripture in so many syllables, they certainly impose an unjust law—a law which would condemn every interpretation of Scripture that is not composed of other words of Scripture. But if by foreign they mean that which, after being idly devised, is superstitiously defended,—which tends more to strife than edification,—which is used either out of place, or with no benefit which offends pious ears by its harshness, and leads them away from the simplicity of God’s Word, I embrace their soberness with all my heart. For I think we are bound to speak of God as reverently as we are bound to think of him.

As our own thoughts respecting him are foolish, so our own language respecting him is absurd. Still, however, some medium must be observed. The unerring standard both of thinking and speaking must be derived from the Scriptures: by it all the thoughts of our minds, and the words of our mouths, should be tested. But in regard to those parts of Scripture which, to our capacities, are dark and intricate, what forbids us to explain them in clearer terms—terms, however, kept in reverent and faithful subordination to Scripture truth, used sparingly and modestly, and not without occasion?

Of this we are not without many examples. When it has been proved that the Church was impelled, by the strongest necessity, to use the words Trinity and Person, will not he who still inveighs against novelty of terms be deservedly suspected of taking offence at the light of truth, and of having no other ground for his invective, than that the truth is made plain and transparent?

John Calvin