Posted by: Andrew Webb | October 27, 2008

J.I. Packer on Puritan Preaching

Over the next few months it’s my intention (D.V.) to post links to helpful audio resources on the subject of Pastoral ministry. I’d like to start by posting a link to an amazingly helpful lecture by J.I. Packer on preaching methodology of the Puritans. It’s mistakenly labeled on Sermon Audio as “Elizabethan Puritans”

Just as a teaser for the content, here’s a quote from the lecture which concerns the sound Puritan belief that one should carefully prepare one’s sermons and carry notes into the pulpit. This ran against the belief of enthusiasts like the Quakers that all preaching should simply be done in the moment and without preparation (this is also the belief of some Pentecostals today). In replying to this erroneous view Richard Baxter proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that Puritans were not devoid of a sense of humor!

“Richard Baxter got into a controversy with the Quakers and they accused him of not having the Spirit and not preaching in the Spirit because, they said, you read your sermons out of a paper, you use notes, you have a script and Baxter replied ‘as wisely should the Quakers argue that because we use spectacles and hourglasses and pulpits we have not the Spirit. It is not want of your abilities that makes ministers use notes but its regard to the work and the good of the hearers. I use notes as much as any man when I take pains and as little as any man when I am lazy or busy and haven’t leisure to prepare. It’s easier to preach three sermons without notes than one with them. He is a simple preacher that isn’t able to preach all day without preparation if he preacheth your way.In other words if you intend to get up and blather in the name of the Lord, then there is no limit to what you can do!

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Responses

  1. Thanks for this information. Being a note-preacher, I was encouraged. It’s not good to be tied to notes but I agree with Baxter here. Many thanks for a good blog.

  2. [...] Audio: Packer on Puritan Preaching [...]


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