By Robert Hart
It is not the duty of the clergy to blunt the sharpness, to soften the hammer, to quench the fire. Woe to the preacher who protects the people from the Word that kills, because he protects them also from being made alive – truly and forever alive. Woe to the preacher who acts as a buffer, deflecting the force of the Scriptures to soften the blow, because in protecting the people from the stroke, he prevents their healing.
If his labors in the pulpit amount to a lifetime of standing between the people and the word of God, reducing its effect, taming it and making it polite, presentable, and harmless, he will have nothing to show for it in the end but wood, hay, and stubble, instead of gold, silver, and precious stones.
If the passages that have been read speak of life and death, then elaborate on life and death. If they speak of repentance, then preach that men should repent. When they encourage faith, proclaim faith. When they warn of hell and the judgment to come, then blow the trumpet as a faithful watchman on the walls. When they comfort, speak as a pastor who feeds the sheep.
Let the meaning of the Scriptures be expounded to their full effect; proclaim from them the truth that affects the eternal destiny of the souls in your care. It is far easier to preach if a man will ride the Scriptures like a wave, letting them make their own point and arrive at their own destination.
From Touchstone, June 2007, page 5.