Monday, July 23, 2012

Watson on Preaching

Here's a valuable gem from Elder John Watson on preaching the gospel, both its mode and our attitude towards it.

"The very way of grace and mercy is to blend exhortation and admonitions with the commandment.  God is a sovereign, and could have given his commands without them; but as a God of mercy, he commands and then exhorts, he exhorts and then admonishes, he admonishes and then warns.  A stern ruler may give absolute orders without admonition or warning, relying entirely on his authority to command; but the Lord does not thus deal with us; His way is a way of Fatherly love; he commands and then in mercy exhorts and warns.  How great is the grace of exhortation!  Shall the minister suppress this mercy and grace in the pulpit; shall he deny its utterance there?  Now brethren, I have come to the strong point, an undeniable truth, has not God joined the exhortations with the commandments?  And how dare we preach one without the other?  We have become too sensitive, and are not willing to suffer among brethren for the truth's sake.

Some do not object if the believers only be exhorted, but contend it is wrong to exhort the impenitent sinner to repent, or the unbeliever to believe because the doctrine of repentance and faith is that they are both the gifts of God.  Has not the Lord ordained the preaching of His word to that very end? Rom. 10:8,15.

The minister must look by faith beyond the exhortation "repent ye", "believe" and the like, to God who only can give these blessings.  The bow is drawn and arrow shot at a "peradventure".  This kind of preaching with faith in the promises of God, excludes all Arminianism.  They become Arminian only when we disconnect them from the excellency of divine power; or may expect them to take any other effectual way than that of God's purpose and election.  Our ministerial call cannot rise higher than an if or per adventure.  Acts 16:14; 2 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:25.  Our not exhorting sinners to repent and believe, is a gross deviation from the gospel rule, and a palpable perversion of the great commission under which we preach.  Let us pursue the revealed method of God, and not the assumed one which we now follow.  If ultraists, in their blindness, call us Arminians, let us bear it for the truth's sake.  We had better suffer ourselves than deviate from our commission.  I know I shall have to dispute every inch of ground here; that many are ready to catch at my words, and dispute all I may write; therefore I appeal to "the law and to the testimony".  How did the first Baptist preach?  "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  To whom were these words addressed?  To the penitent or impenitent?  To the impenitent of course.  Who gave repentance?  The Lord.  How did Christ?  "Repent ye and believe the gospel."  How did the twelve?  "They went out and preached that men should repent."


Jason Brown said...

Brother Kevin,

I certainly agree with Elder Watson here, and I think knowledgeable Primitive Baptists would affirm the same.

Kevin Fralick said...

That's good to know Brother Jason. And I'm glad we agree on this point. Unfortunately, I have found
such a view to be in the minority in my travels in the southeast. Maybe it can be corrected.