Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)
During the summer, my great friend Pastor Bill visited and we were talking about some of the preaching that’s found today. I told Bill that I get nervous if I don’t hear the words sin and repentance in a sermon. Bill then talked a bit about what he calls “cotton candy Christianity” (I love that term) and how you can find a lot of that in television preaching these days.
I thought about that while reading R. Kent Hughes’ commentary on the book of Acts called Acts: The Church Afire. Hughes gives a great example of the polar opposite of “cotton candy” preaching in his book.
Here it is:
Peter Cartwright was a great circuit-riding Methodist preacher in Illinois. An uncompromising man, he had come north from Tennessee because of his opposition to slavery. One Sunday morning when he was scheduled to preach, his deacons told him that President Andrew Jackson was in the congregation. Knowing Cartwright was used to saying whatever he felt God wanted him to say, regardless of how people might react, they warned him not to say anything that would offend the chief executive. He stood up to preach and said,
“I understand President Andrew Jackson is here. I have been requested to be guarded in my remarks.
“Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he does not repent.”
The audience was shocked. They wondered how the President would respond to this, but after the service he told Cartwright,
“Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could whip the world.”
Let us pray for the same boldness in preaching from our pastors today.