Interesting Tidbits on John Calvin and Preaching

I recently live blogged the G3 Conference. One of the pastors, Dr. Steve Lawson, gave a presentation on John Calvin’s preaching and what we can learn from it. I found a few items about Calvin fascinating.

First, note that Lawson scaled down his material from 30-something points (as I recall) to the following six points.

  1. Authority of Biblical Truth
  2. Priority of Sequential Exposition
  3. The Accuracy of Sound Exegesis
  4. Committed to the Energy of Lively Preaching
  5. Necessity of Gospel Defense
  6. Fervency of Evangelistic Passion

I agree with Lawson when he said that no man more loved or more hated or more misunderstood than John Calvin. That said, my observation of facts about Calvin is not a defense of every doctrine or action of the man. Calvin was an influential giant in Western Christendom. Even those who adamantly disagree with his theology can learn from him.

There are more details in the above six points that are very interesting, but I just want to highlight a few points. Calvin was obviously an intellectual. He was also an evangelist as noted on this blog. Research into Calvin’s history found that when he preached he did so from the original languages.

So, when preaching from the Old Testament he preached directly from Hebrew. When preaching from the New Testament he did so from the Greek. And he took nothing but the text with him into the pulpit; no notes at all.

Despite that fact that he preached from texts using only the original languages, his belief was that he must deliver the sermon in the most simple, common language. Scripture was for everyone and its message should be understood by all making the biblical text as clear as possible. He did not preach down to people. He preached to himself as well as to his congregation.

Calvin believed in preaching energetically. He sought to be dynamic, not boring. Preaching was not lecturing as far as Calvin was concerned. Calvin did not use five minute illustrations, but did use metaphors and wisdom that appealed to the imagination. A lecture was something to be heard at anytime while preaching was for the moment.

Those are some of the tidbits about Calvin and preaching that stood out to me. I have not listened to Lawson’s presentation again though; I am sure there is much I missed.

Just a little something to think about when preaching.

For what it’s worth…



tagged as , , , in calvinism,Christianity,Sermons,theology

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