The Art of Faithful Preaching, by William Perkins (1558-1602)
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William Perkins (1558-1602) was a Calvinist minister and theologian who was one of the foremost leaders of the Puritan movement in the Church of England. His “Works” were originally published in three large volumes spanning thousands of pages. However, he wrote a number of individual treatises that are exceedingly biblically, spiritual and helpful for Christians today. The works of William Perkins have not been published until now in these individual treatises.
The Christian church is plagued in the 21st century by untaught, unqualified teachers in the church. There are few problems in the contemporary Reformed church today that can match terrible preaching, and the poor exposition of the word of God. These “preachers” desire to be part of the ministry of the word (which is a noble task) but then do not meet the non-negotiable qualifications of 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1, and are thrust into some teaching position without being biblically trained. Preaching must be faithful, and it must be God’s message elders in the church preach and teach. Often, people ascend to the pulpit because they like the idea of teaching, rather than thinking they are God’s mouthpiece.
Perkins had much the same problem in his own day and in his own city. In this volume, written specially for ministers, he provides a foundation of bible truths to teach the manner in which ministers may preach effectively and faithfully to their congregations, as well as showing Christians how they may read their bible with profit and understanding.
Ministers must be concerned about and pursue the knowledge of holy learning. The preparation of sermons is an everyday task in the church, but it is still a tremendous responsibility and by no means easy. In fact it is doubtful if there is a more difficult challenge in the theological disciplines than that of homiletics, or the science of sermon preparation. Its subject matter is prophecy, which is a “higher gift” indeed (cf. 1 Cor. 12:31), whether we think about its dignity or its usefulness. In keeping with this dignity, preaching has a twofold value: 1. it is instrumental in gathering the church and bringing together all of the elect; and 2. it drives away the wolves from the folds of the Lord. Preaching is to be the allurer of the soul, by which our self–willed minds are subdued and changed from an ungodly and pagan lifestyle to a life of Christian faith and repentance. It is also the weapon which has shaken the foundations of ancient heresies, and also, in Perkin’s day, cut to pieces the sinews of the Antichrist. In this way, if anyone asks which spiritual gift is the “most excellent,” undoubtedly the prize must be given to prophesying, to preaching the Gospel faithfully.
This is a classic work that should be at the side of every preacher and every student of the bible to be read again and again.
This work is not a scan or facsimile and has been updated to be made easy to read.