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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Quotes from Adrian Rogers

Maturing in the Word of God allowed me to both stop condemning myself over the lack of results and to stop congratulating myself over good results. I'd describe this maturing as an ecology that one acquires from learning the battle is the Lord's and the results are His business and not the preacher's business.

The pastor should never make peace with the reality of preaching without results. I have heard some preachers say in regard to lack of fruit in their ministry, “I don't worry about results because that is God's concern.” However, if the truth be known, the lack of results is sometimes the pastor's fault because he has been cool, diffident, and has failed to pray.

For a preacher to be powerful, he must be authoritative, and he cannot be authoritative unless there is a sure word from God. There was a time when preachers would stand in the pulpit, hold up the Word of God, and say, “The Bible says.” Then they started saying, “The church says.” Now they just scratch their heads and say, “Well, it seems to me.”

The inerrancy of the Bible equips the preacher with authority in the pulpit, for it supplies the preacher with the right to stand up and declare, “Thus saith the Lord.” When the Bible speaks, God speaks. That puts a ring of authority into what the preacher has to say. The preacher is not a demagogue, he is not an authoritarian, but there is no stutter, no stammer, no apology. There is no backing away from preaching the Word. He should never be guilty of testing the temperature of the water. What the Bible says, he must say.

I am not a prophet, not an apostle, but because of the inerrancy of the Word, I can preach with the authority of a prophet or an apostle when I preach what the prophets and apostles preached.

The preacher must settle in his mind that the Word of God is more important than denominational approval, more important than staying in a particular church. As preachers, we do not have to stay in our denomination, we do not have to pastor our churches, we do not have to be loved. But one day we are going to give an account of our obedience to Jesus Christ, and we need to be able to say, “I was faithful to the faith; I was faithful to the fight; and I was faithful to the finish.”

Many preachers confuse stooped posture for humility. Mock humility is laid upon us by none other than the devil. True humility is not thinking negatively about yourself; it is agreeing with what God says about you. The grace of God will exalt a person without inflating him and humble a person without debasing him.

Consequently, humility is not having the preacher walk around declaring how humble he is; rather, humility is having the preacher declare he is what he is by the grace of God and be willing to take the place of a servant.

A preacher should read the Word of God carefully and meaningfully. The preacher should practice reading the Word of God privately to read well in public. The Word of God is full of drama and feeling; thus, it is crucial that it be read with feeling, proper pauses, and correct inflections. These things ought to come through the preacher's reading of the Word of God. He ought to read the Word so thoughtfully and carefully that the congregation realizes that their pastor is awed, and, therefore, they will be impressed by what he is reading.

Well, the nature of preaching involves a man delivering a message. I would define biblical preaching as applying the truth of the Bible to the human situation and calling for action. One cannot disassociate the message from the man who is preaching. Truth on paper is not the same as truth in human flesh.

The gospel message cannot be separated from the God-called messenger. A preacher once told his congregation: “I wish you did not even have to see me. The message is important; I am not important. I wish somehow there could be a curtain up here; I could stand behind the curtain, and you could just hear the message.”

That man did not understand God's design for preaching. He was a hypocrite, because it would have been possible for him to preach behind a curtain if that is what he truly desired. But even if he would have constructed the curtain, that would have been contrary to God's plan. God gave him his voice; God gave him his eyes; God gave him his hands; God gave him his smile. The truth of Scripture is that God wants him out there as a chosen vessel to preach the Word of God.

Likewise, the act of hearing God's Word preached in a group setting is also crucial to the experience. Listening to a sermon alone as an individual is not nearly as powerful as listening to a sermon in a group. If you take a taped sermon and listen to that sermon while traveling in your automobile, there will be a certain chemistry that will be engendered by your listening to that tape, and you may be blessed. If something dramatic was preached, you would be moved, but only so far. However, if you were to get a group of ten people and listen to that tape, the dynamics in that room would be different. What you would hear and experience together will have greater significance than what any of you would have experienced separately.

I am not sure I understand all the psychology of that, but there is something about listening with others that builds.

Paige Patterson and Joyce Rogers, Love Worth Finding: The Life of Adrian Rogers and His Philosophy of Preaching (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2005).

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