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!


About Andrew Webb

Andrew James Webb, Pastor Providence PCA, Fayetteville NC. Born: July 29, 1969 Rochford, Essex England Education: MA Modern History, St. Andrews University, Fife, Scotland, 1991 M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, PA, 2001 Personal Details: Husband of Joy Webb, Father of Margaret (6), Victor (5), Graham (3) and Isabel (10 Mos.) Secular Work History: Upon graduation from University, I returned to the United States and worked for two Madison Ave Advertising Firms in copy writing and advertising space sales. After moving to Northern Virginia, I went into computing. I worked as a Systems Administrator in Washington D.C. for both the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) (a legal publishing firm,) and the International Republican Institute. Experience: Licensed by Potomac Presbytery, May 1997 and Philadelphia Presbytery in 1999. From 1998 to 2001 I did a three year apprentice/internship under Dr. Mark Herzer while working with the Christ Covenant church plant in Hatboro, PA. Ordained as an RE at Christ Covenant PCA in 2000 and as a TE by Central Carolina in 2001 when I was called to be the Organizing Pastor for Providence PCA Mission, Cross Creek PCA's church plant in Fayetteville, NC (home to Ft. Bragg and Pope Airforce Base). In 2005 when the Providence PCA Particularized I was blessed to be called by the congregation to be their Pastor. Presbytery Committees: Assistance and Membership (Philadelphia), Candidates (Central Carolina), Nominations (Central Carolina) GA Committees: Bills and Overtures, Covenant Theological Seminary Other: I have had a number of my essays on theological topics published including What is the Reformed Doctrine of Divorce? and Five Reasons Not To Go See The Passion of the Christ Why I Don't Have an English Accent: I don't have an English accent because my parents moved to New Jersey when I was six!
This entry was posted in Audio, Old School Presbyterian Churches, Pastoral Theology, Preaching, The Puritans. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to J.I. Packer on Puritan Preaching

  1. Dean Olive says:

    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. Pingback: Most Read Posts - #6 « Unashamed Workman

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