I received on of the highest compliments I’ve ever been paid today while visiting a ninety-year-old saint. While spending some time with him at the assisted living center, an elderly member of the congregation where I am interning told me that this past Lord’s Day I preached on of the best sermons he has heard in more than a decade. Having heard the preaching of his regular minister, I think I’d disagree – even more so given that I would call myself and adequate preacher at best, not a particularly good one.
One the other hand, it seems that there is a dearth of even adequate preaching in the vast majority of pulpits today; I’ve yet to hear a preacher that I found really great. Perhaps the last truly great English speaking preacher was Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones of Westminster Chapel in London. Since his death, there have been precious few good preachers.
Given the age of podcasting, it seems that everyone thinks that there is a plethora of great preachers out there now. While I think there is one preacher currently that is particularly good (Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Highland Village, Tex.), even he strays from his text too often for my tastes. Yet there are a number of incredibly gifted homiletics professors at our Reformed seminaries at the moment, such as Dr. Bryan Chappell at Covenant Theological Seminary, and Dr. Joseph Pipa at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
So why is it that so much of what passes for preaching today is in reality atrocious?