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J.I. Packer on the Greatest Gift a Pastor Can Give to His People

J.I. Packer reflects on how impacting the preaching of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was on his life during a time of “regular” preaching. May God grant me this as well!

In some way there was in the Doctor’s preaching thunder and lightning that no tape or transcription ever did or could capture — power, I mean, to mediate a realization of God’s presence…. Nearly forty years on, it still seems to me that all I have ever known about preaching was given me in the winter of 1948-49, when I worshipped at Westminster Chapel with some regularity.  Through the thunder and lightning, I felt and saw as never before the glory of Christ and of his gospel as modern man’s only lifeline, and learned by experience why historic Protestantism looks on preaching as the supreme means of grace and of communion with God.  Preaching, thus viewed and valued, was the centre of the Doctor’s life: into it he poured himself unstintingly; for it he pleaded untiringly…. Pulpit dramatics and rhetorical rhapsodies the Doctor despised and never indulged in; his concern was always with the flow of thought, and the emotion he expressed as he talked was simply the outward sign of passionate thinking…. He embodied and expressed ‘the glory’ — the glory of the God, of Christ, of grace, of the gospel, of the Christian ministry, of humanness according to the new creation — more richly than any man I have ever known.  No man can give another a greater gift than a vision of such glory as this.  I am forever in his debt.”

Thanks to Reformation 21 blog for the lead.

 – From JIP’s Collected Shorter Writings 4, pp. 84 and 87

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.