"Preaching & Preachers" is a new 12 page magazine launched by its editors Martin Holdt and Johann Odenhaal and Dereck Stone in South Africa (Address PO Box 33335, Glenstantia 0010, South Africa). The following is a brief interview with Brian Edwards:
P&P: Brian, for how many years have you been preaching and how have your convictions about preaching developed over the years?
B.E: I first preached in 1959, but have been preaching regularly since 1963. I believed then, and still do, that God has appointed preaching as a chief way of communicating his truth.
P&P: Why is preaching being devalued in so many quarters today?
B.E: 1. The media presents sound and eye bites attractively and makes few demands upon thinking and reasoning. The entertainment value of information has become all important. By contrast, preaching demands concentration and reasoning.
2. Many preachers, even those with the truth, are dull and tedious.
P&P: How can confidence in the ministry of preaching be restored?
B.E: By attractive, stimulating and reasoned expository preaching, which is seen to be relevant and God honouring.
P&P: What exactly is wrong with preaching in this 21st century?
B.E: See above. Seminary members have often lost confidence in preaching because it is frequently cold and uninspiring. Additionally Christians expect to be entertained rather than made to think and too often preachers are more apologetic than authoritative.
P&P: It has been said by some that the art of preaching is sooner learned from role models than from courses in homiletics. Any Comments?
B.E: There is no doubt about this. Better preaching would inspire more young men with the ministry - we are seriously short of young men in training in the UK. Homiletics is of value but only for those who have a gift for preaching.
P&P: If you were to start all over again, would you do things differently in preaching compared to your approach when you began?
B.E: Not a lot I generally use fuller notes today than 30 years ago because I strive to be as accurate, careful and valuable as I can be. But I have never assumed people want to listen to me and my job is to make them want to listen. I have always followed an expository approach with topical sermons for occasions whether seasonal or to reflect current significant issues.
Brian Edwards is a minister in the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches in the UK. He has written several excellent books and is itinerating mainly in the UK.