Someone asked us in a comment yesterday why PP doesn’t just oppose every pastor. The answer, obviously, is that there are many, many pastors doing fine work and preaching God’s word faithfully and intelligently. Besides my own pastor, one of my favorite preachers is Sinclair Furguson of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia. While every sermon he preaches is very good, I’ve linked to a couple that I’ve listened to recently that are simply magnificent. (The links are to the podcast section on iTunes, though you can stream them from the church’s website.) If you have a spare 40 minutes, you won’t do much better than to listen to either one of these.
Here’s what I find so attractive and refreshing:
- It respects the power of the Word. Furguson doesn’t promise to rock our world, yet he does so simply by preaching simply.
- It shows the benefit of going deep. Furguson knows the Bible, and it shows in the observations and insights he passes on to his congregation.
- It engages the whole person. I love the way Furguson invites you to think with him about the Scripture, and then he moves beyond logic and touches the soul and the heart as well. Don’t tell anyone, but the conclusions of these sermons made me a little teary eyed.
- It shows the benefit of sane thinking. A good pastor need not be out of his mind. Furguson uses careful thinking and logic to reveal profound insights that are not obvious at first reading.
- It reaches the whole family. Notice at the beginning how children are encouraged to read the Word and follow the sermon. There aren’t any bouncers at the doors of this church.
- The focus is on Jesus. These sermons are a careful study of Jesus and his grace. The first one, Marveling and Moved, invites you to sit and watch the Savior for as long as you possibly can. Furguson, through the Gospel, paints a picture of a loving Savior from whom you would never want to avert your eyes.
- It is expository exaltation. When you hear the Word of God preached well, how can you not worship? As Piper said,
Preaching does not come after worship in the order of the service. Preaching is worship. The preacher worships–exults–over the word, trying his best to draw you into a worshipful response by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- It feeds the sheep. These sermons are excellent examples of how we can eat the Word. Learning anew of Jesus’ grace is life changing. Although these sermons don’t start out promising to solve some felt need, their life application is at once profound and practical.
- It witnesses to the lost. After listening to the Word of God being proclaimed so clearly to the saints, how would you not want to know Jesus as your Savior? Furguson shows that good preaching to Christians is inherently evangelistic.
- The accent is just right. Reformed theology and Scottish accents just work so well together (sorry, pastor).