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The Miracle of Christian Preaching | Messages | Churchisonline.com

by John Piper
Submission Is a Wonderful Weapon

Audio Transcript

The chief and ultimate aim of preaching — namely, that people would see and savor and show the glories of Christ and all that God is for us in him — is an aim that cannot be accomplished by any natural person. It cannot happen in a preacher or a hearer who is what Paul calls a “natural person.” Can’t happen.

“Christian preaching is a miracle in the preacher that aims to be a miracle in the people.”

So I’m not asking, What are the natural things that a preacher can do to increase natural knowledge and natural feeling? Preaching is not a subspecies of natural rhetoric. It’s not a means of using language to persuade the natural mind to act differently. Rhetoric — natural oratory — can move the natural mind in stunning ways. Whole movements of the world can be carried by natural rhetoric. Think Winston Churchill, think John Kennedy. Stunning things can happen through natural speech, natural rhetoric, and rhetorical skill.

This natural effect on the mind is not a taste for spiritual beauty. It’s not a taste of the beauty and glory and worth of God. Natural oratory does not impart the miracle of seeing and savoring and showing the glory of Christ. Therefore, Christian preaching has no interest in merely natural rhetoric. Preaching aims to bring about spiritual sight of the glories of God in Christ. It aims to awaken and sustain a spiritual taste that God is supremely beautiful and satisfying.

Rhetorical successes that fall short of that are fatal — especially in the ministry, in the church. What makes preaching unique is that it is a miracle aiming to be the agent of miracles in the people. The main miracle that it aims to experience in the preacher, and bring about in the people, is the miracle of spiritual sight — understanding, grasping truth — and spiritual savoring — cherishing, delighting, treasuring — and spiritual showing — a church, radically transformed, and a light to the world.

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