In Kampen on November 28, 1889, Herman Bavinck gave a lecture to seminary students at the theological school there. The lecture was called “Eloquence” and it was all about Christian preaching. Due to demand, Bavinck wrote this lecture out and it was later published. Just recently it has been translated into English and made available in the book called Herman Bavinck on Preaching and Preachers (translated and edited by James Eglinton). There are other selections in this book as well, such as an article by Bavinck called “The Sermon and the Service” and one of his few surviving written sermons called “The World-Conquering Power of Faith.” Anyway, it’s an outstanding resource and I very much enjoyed it. If you’re a preacher, I highly recommend it. If you’re not, I’d say: get one for your pastor! Below are a few paragraphs I underlined that I’d like to share. It’s from the foreword to “Eloquence.” (Note: the (brackets) are mine and are added for clarification.)
These new circumstances (e.g. secularization, a waning of the knowledge of the truth, ignorance of the Bible and catechism) place a costly obligation on the church and call its ministers to an ever more faithful care for the office entrusted to them, especially in the ministry of the word. In content and form, the church’s gatherings may not be inferior to the [secular] meetings that call to the people day and night. The church’s gatherings are and, by virtue of the divine institution, must remain the center point of the religious life, the source of spiritual power, the inspiration for the work everyone is called to do, by the sweat of his brow, each weekday.
Whatever influence there may be from the word in print or spoken that reaches us from elsewhere, it cannot be compared with the blessing there is for heart and life, family and society, in the word spoken to us in the gatherings of the congregation. Here alone do we find the ministry of God’s Word and the sealing of his covenant. Here, Christ himself lives in our midst and works by his spirit, here we taste the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the principle of eternal life. The Sabbath is the best of days; no other day is like it. And the church is the meeting of God with his people; no other gathering can take its place to compensate for its loss.
I agree! These are helpful words for us to remember today since such a high view of corporate worship is not the norm. May God give his all people this kind of outlook on weekly corporate worship and preaching.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015