The Work of a Great Preacher

Obscurity is one of the fatal enemies of the pulpit. And it is here, I am persuaded, that not a little of modern preaching falls short. The man in the pew derives no benefit from it--not because he doesn't believe it but because he can't understand it. This may be due to the fact that the sermon is dealing with some obscure theme beyond the range of his interest or intelligence. Or it may be due to the fact that the sermon is couched in high-sounding theological jargon which makes no more sense to him than would Hindustani. There are preachers who indulge in a pseudo-intellectuality and appear to take a special delight in bewildering their hearers by a display of verbal gymnastics. It is a sorry sort of business. To make easy things hard, it has been observed, is any man's job; but to make hard things easy is the work of a great preacher.

(Anglican pastor Frank Colquhoun, writing in 1965)

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