Many unbelievers will attend churches this coming Resurrection Sunday. This Expositor's Quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the nature of true evangelistic preaching is therefore timely:
Preaching must always be theological, always based on a theological foundation. . . . A type of preaching that is sometimes . . . regarded as non-theological is evangelistic preaching. . . . You ‘bring people to Christ’ as they put it; and then you teach them the truth. It is only subsequently that theology comes in.
That, to me, is quite wrong, and indeed nonsense. I would be prepared to argue that in many ways evangelistic preaching should be more, rather than less theological, than any other, and for this good reason. Why is it that you call people to repent? Why do you call them to believe the gospel? You cannot deal properly with repentance without dealing with the doctrine of man, the doctrine of the Fall, the doctrine of sin and the wrath of God against sin. Then when you call me to come to Christ and to give themselves to Him, how can you do so without knowing who He is, and on what grounds you invite them to come to Him, and so on. In other words it is all highly theological. Evangelism which is not theological is not evangelism at all in any true sense. It may be a calling for decisions, it may be calling on people to come to religion, or to live a better kind of life, or the offering of some psychological benefits; but it cannot by any definition be regarded as Christian evangelism, because there is no true reason for what you are doing, apart from these great theological principles. I assert therefore that every type of preaching must be theological, including evangelistic preaching.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Zondervan: 1971), p. 64-65.
[How did Lloyd-Jones put these thoughts into practice? He preached evangelistic sermons every Sunday night. A number of these are available in printed form in the two volumes, Evangelistic Sermons at Aberavon (Banner of Truth Trust, 1983), and Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons (Banner of Truth Trust, 1995 -- see the archives for links). In audio, I recommend his series on Ezekiel 36, which is available on tape at no charge through Mt Zion Bible Church. The sermon on Exekiel 36:27 is particularly stirring.
May we this Sunday communicate the profound theological truths of the gospel clearly, simply, and passionately – and may the Spirit open the minds and touch the hearts of our listeners, bringing them to a saving knowledge of our blessed Lord and risen King – Coty]
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