Warning for Preachers




I was having a conversation with Greg and Zach earlier and I was trying to think of this George Eliot quote that I read on the Ancient Hebrew Poetry Blog. It is a good warning for us going into pulpit ministry.

Given, a man with moderate intellect, a moral standard not higher than the average, some rhetorical affluence and great glibness of speech, what is the career in which, without aid of birth or money, he may most easily attain power and reputation…?

…in which a smattering of science and learning will pass for profound instruction, where platitudes will be accepted as wisdom, bigoted narrowness as holy zeal, unctuous egoism as God-given piety? Let such a man become an evangelical preacher; he will then find it possible to reconcile small ability with great ambition, superficial knowledge with the prestige of erudition, a middling morale with a high reputation of sanctity.

Pleasant to the clerical flesh… is the arrival of Sunday! … He has an immense advantage over all other public speakers. The platform orator is subject to the criticism of hisses and groans. Counsel for the plaintiff expects the retort of counsel for the defendant. The honorable gentleman on one side of the House is liable to have his facts and figures shown up by his honorable friend on the opposite side…. the preacher is completely master of the situation: no one may hiss, no one may depart. Like the writer of imaginary conversations, he may put what imbecilities he pleases into the mouths of his antagonists, and swell with triumph when he has refuted them. He may riot in gratuitous assertions, confident that no man will contradict him; he may exercise perfect free-will in logic, and invent illustrative experience; he may give an evangelical edition of history with the inconvenient facts omitted;-all this he may do with impunity, certain that those of his hearers who are not sympathizing are not listening.

(HT: MayFly via AHP)


5 responses to “Warning for Preachers

  1. wow, instant humility…heart check and help us Lord, help us; we really need it.

  2. scottedwardschultz


  3. Wow- after I thought there were no more slaps to be delivered in this quote, I get hit with another one. And that’s good stuff. We need to get slapped in the face often, I think sometimes that’s the only way I can feel it.
    The pulpit does attract some strange, sick people. Wait a second, that includes me…

  4. amen gregwillson aka justin’s baptizo bro from RTS, we so need to hear this. thanks again justin, sometimes we actually begin to thing we’re speical, then you come out here and drop works like ‘spiration,’ and ‘dahood’ (who i looked up and finally remembered)

  5. Wow dude, thats a great quote. Thanks for the reminder to be more humble.

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