Archive for the ‘George Whitefield’ Tag

Piper on Whitefield on not Being a Velvet-mouthed Preacher

Dr. John Piper spoke on the life of George Whitefield at the most recent Desiring God Conference for Pastors, Commending Christ.  I highly recommend listening to it, especially if you are a preacher.  Piper references a quote from Whitefield:

I’ll tell you a story. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 1675 was acquainted with Mr. Butterton the [actor]. One day the Archbishop . . . said to Butterton . . . ‘pray inform me Mr. Butterton, what is the reason you actors on stage can affect your congregations with speaking of things imaginary, as if they were real, while we in church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why my Lord,’ says Butterton, ‘the reason is very plain. We actors on stage speak of things imaginary, as if they were real and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’ Therefore I will bawl [shout loudly], I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.

The Piper comments;

This means that there are three ways to speak. First, you can speak of an unreal, imaginary world as if it were real—that is what actors do in a play. Second, you can speak about a real world as if it were unreal—that is what half-hearted pastors do when they preach about glorious things in a way that says they are not as terrifying and wonderful as they are. And third is: You can speak about a real spiritual world as if it were wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real (because it is).

The Life and Ministry of George Whitefield: Living and Preaching as Though God Were Real (Because He Is), by John Piper