I have been doing a great deal of studying on Martin Luther for the past six months now. During this time of becoming acquainted with Luther, I have fallen in love with some of his views on preaching. It is for this reason that I wrote a research paper on this very topic. It is this research paper that I want to share with you all.
What To Expect
Over the next 6 days, I am going to post little sections from my paper that I submitted. Part 1 will be the introduction. Part 2 will cover how Luther believed preaching was to be Word driven. Part 3 will cover how Luther believed preaching was to be clearly articulated. Part 4 will cover how Luther believed preaching ought to be soul searching. Part 5 will cover how Luther believed preaching should be Christ exalting. Lastly, part 6 will be the conclusion of these blog posts.
I Know What You Are Thinking
Okay, so right now you are probably wondering whether keeping up with this will be worth your time or not if you are not a pastor or aspiring to be a pastor. I understand why you would be thinking this. But I want to tell you that it will be worth your time. Preachers are not the only ones that need to understand what good preaching is. The members of the congregation need to understand what good preaching is as well. These little blogs will help you to better understand what good preaching is. This is not because these blogs have been written by me. Rather, it is because they are written about what Luther has said about the preaching ministry, and believe me, he knew a thing or two about preaching the Word of God.
Prior to the Reformation, preaching did not have the same importance as it did during the days of Christ and the Apostles. Some time between the days of Chrysostom and Luther, the Roman Catholic Church had made the pulpit a place for the Mass, ceremonies, and rituals. With this being the case, the pulpit was no longer a place for the empowered proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So there needed to be a reformation, but if a reformation was going to take place, then there needed to be a recovery of the exposition of the Word of God from the pulpit. This is why Martyn Lloyd Jones, after studying years of church history, said, “What is it that always heralds the dawn of a Reformation or a of a Revival? It is renewed preaching. Not only a new interest in preaching but a new kind of preaching.” Therefore, somebody in the 1500s had to develop and implement a biblical view of preaching. There had to be somebody that was going to understand the importance of the preaching ministry. There had to be somebody that knew the ministry of the Word was of great importance, and who was going to dedicate the entirety of their life to it.
Thankfully there was such a man. God had ordained a man named Martin Luther to be born for such a task as this. God had set Luther apart when he was in the womb of his mother so that he could reform the church through the proclamation of the word of truth from the pulpit. And that is exactly what Luther did. Luther knew that a Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church would only be successful if the preaching of the Word was supreme. Therefore, he labored unto death doing just that.
Since Luther understood the importance of the sermon, it is important to look further into his view of preaching. Luther was passionate and dogmatic about the preaching ministry so he has much to teach people in regards to the preaching ministry. For the purpose of this research paper, there will be an examination of Luther’s view of preaching. This paper will reveal that Luther believed preaching should be Word driven, clearly articulated, soul searching, and Christ exalting.
Steven Lawson, The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther (Sanford, Florida: Reformation Trust, 2013), xvii.
Martyn Lloyd Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2011), 31.
Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville: Abington Press, 1978) 359.