Culture At Large

Sinners in the hands of an angry God!

Andy Rau

Have you ever heard this most famous of sermons preached? Today I came across a recording of Mark Dever preaching "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" at the Capitol Hill Baptist Church a few years ago. You can listen to the sermon online or read the transcript. I strongly recommend listening to it; Dever offers a very good introduction, and I was surprised at how much more compelling the sermon is when it's preached out loud rather than merely read.

Listening to this sermon called to mind a question I've wondered about before: why don't pastors recycle classic sermons of the faith? Every week, my pastor spends hours researching and preparing a sermon to deliver, and I certainly don't object to that; his sermons are inspiring and insightful. But with the vast catalog of public-domain historical sermons at our disposal—check the massive Sermon Index if you think I'm exaggerating—I wouldn't mind if my pastor periodically chose a relevant or particularly insightful classic sermon to deliver (giving due credit to the original author, of course). Obviously, many classic sermons are outdated for some reason or another; but there must be plenty that would speak just as powerfully to a modern audience as they did to their original audience.

What do you think? Would you happily listen if your pastor periodically preached a "classic" sermon from church history? Pastors, have you ever considered preaching classic sermons, perhaps as a short, experimental series, or as part of a Sunday school class? Would you benefit from cutting back on the amount of time you spend doing original research for your own sermons?

And am I hopelessly naive to imagine that churchgoers today would sit through a sermon with a couple of "thee"s and "thou"s scattered throughout?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, The Church, News & Politics, History