Look for Solid Lutheran Preaching and Reward It, by Pr. Kurt Hering

(BJS webmaster Norm Fisher serves confessional Lutheranism by adminstering this and other websites. One of those sites is pericope.org from where this article is taken. It is a great site that assists pastors with sermon  preparation and for laity to understand better the craft of sermon-writing.)

According to the Word of God proclaimed by His apostle, Paul, good preaching is to be rewarded.

“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” 1 Timothy 5:17

Rewarding good preaching while marking and avoiding the opposite is perhaps the most important and effective thing the layman can do to combat false teaching and practice in their congregation and synod.

The sainted Lutheran professor, Dr. Harold Buls gleaned a list of 24 preaching proverbs during his lifetime of service to the Church.

Some Homiletical Maxims Collected by Prof. Harry Buls and found in his exegetical notes.

Among them, the following struck me as having been discarded and set ABLAZE! with the rest of our grandfather’s baggage. Laymen would do well to take note of and action on them.

2. Nothing keeps people with the church as does good preaching.

[While this is absolutely true in terms of the invisible church, it no longer seems true in terms of the visible church. It seems most people are looking for everything but. I.e. the preaching and teaching is great but we are looking for a bigger youth group, more activities, livelier music, etc.]

4. Preach the Word. Keep at it whether convenient or not. 2 Timothy 4:2.

[This has become a good way for an LCMS pastor to get fired.]

7. Avoid generic sermons.

[CG, Purpose Driven, Willow Creek etc. seem to thrive on just that–even amongst “Lutherans.” We must mark and avoid them.]

11. If you can’t preach repentance, you can preach nothing.

[What’s repentance got to do with saving the lost?]

18. Fifty years ago the composer of these Notes heard the sainted Dr. Theodore Engelder preach on the theme: “We Need Repent of our Shabby Repentance.” It still lingers in the writer’s memory. Good sermons stick.

[Perhaps now we need to repent of shabby, repentance free sermons.]

20. God’s law can only curb outburst of sin, show man his sin and guide the Christian in godly living. It cannot make people better, more spiritual or more godly. Only the Gospel can and does do that.

[CG, Purpose Driven, Willow Creek etc. do just the opposite–even amongst “Lutherans.” We must mark and avoid them.]

21. Never waste peoples’ time with sermons which neither warn nor comfort.

[There is a lot of wasted time on Sundays around the LCMS. Don’t waste yours and encourage preachers who do neither.]

22. When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said: “Repent ye” He meant that the whole life of the Christian should be one of repentance. (First of the 95 Theses in 1517)

[Note that growth and success are not mentioned. Why is that? And why can’t we take the hint?]

These points were taken from Some Homiletical Maxims Collected by Prof. Harry Buls and found in his exegetical notes..

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.


Look for Solid Lutheran Preaching and Reward It, by Pr. Kurt Hering — 4 Comments

  1. You must have skipped over growth, success, and (most importantly) EFFECTIVENESS. I’m sure they’re in there someplace! Please look again, and get back to us.


  2. Well, of course, you know very well they are not. But anyone can check it our for themselves by clicking on the link next to Dr. Buls pic.

    You will not be surprised or disappointed. :^)

  3. Dr. Buls was my very first Greek Prof at St. John’s [now closed] Winfield, Kansas. I can remember some of those maxims being given in class. He was later my Prof at Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield [the only seminary :-)] where the full load of those maxims was to be given. Kurt, when I first read your use at pericope, I searched my old class notes and found all of them. Dr. Buls was not only a great teacher but one who imparted his love of the Lord to his students.

  4. Dr. Buls was my favorite NT Greek professor. To be sure, he was an academic of the first order. But, it was only later on that I fully came to realize his love and zeal for the Lord. His example of evangelistic activity was [is] a model for all Christian brethren to follow!

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