Preaching is paradoxical. At its best it often consists of ingredients that might not naturally combine but make a surprisingly refreshing combination. Even, on reflection, are an essential merge. Here’s five contemporary preachers I personally value greatly and the paradoxes they have taught me about preaching.
Intellectual and Emotional
Preaching should be both deeply intellectual and wonderfully emotionally satisfying. Preaching should both fire neurons that have lain dead and blaze bright cavities of the heart left too long darkened. Preaching should be both.
Winsome and Faithful
Preaching should be both winsome and faithful. Preaching should both be enjoyable and enjoyed (the listener can find pleasure in preacher and preaching); and rigorous and true (God must be pleased with our faithfulness to his Word). Preaching should be both.
Word and World
Preaching should be both saturated in the Word and intelligent about the world. In Stott’s own analogy preaching holds in one hand the Bible and in the other hand the newspaper and has delved the depths of both. Preaching should know Christ and know culture and shine the former onto the latter. Preaching should be both.
Authoritative and Humble
Preaching should be both authoritative and humble. Preachers both speak for God and speak as broken people. Preachers both prophetically proclaim God’s Word and humbly submit to God’s truth. Preachers both announce confidently God’s grace and bow in sorrow before their sin.