If we would influence thoughtful persons it must be by solid arguments. Shallow minds may be wrought upon by mere warmth of emotion and force of excitement, but the more valuable part of the community must be dealt with in quite another
This is a lesson for the ministry at large. Certain earnest preachers are incessantly xciting the people, and but seldom if ever instructing them; they carry much fire and very little light. God forbid that we should say a word against appealing to the eelings; this is most needful in its place, but then there is a due proportion to be bserved in it…
The preacher may touch the feelings by rousing appeals, as the harper touches the
harpstrings; he will be very foolish if he should neglect so ready and admirable an instrument; but still as he is dealing with reasonable creatures, he must not forget to enlighten the intellect and instruct the understanding. And how can he appeal to the understanding better than by presenting to it the truth which the Holy Ghost teacheth? Scriptural doctrine must furnish us with powerful motives to urge upon the minds of Christians.- C. H. Spurgeon
I am often amazed that Spurgeon is so popular in certain circles where much of his teaching would not be welcomed. So often our churches neglect sound, intellectual doctrinal teaching in favor of moving emotional appeals that play on the heart-strings.
We decide that sermons must be practical and touch on real-life problems and issues faced by hearers. True to a point, but why are we so easily convinced that doctrine is impractical? Applying my mind to learn the clear teachings of Scripture has been the single most practical endeavor of my life.
I would never have weathered the storms I have faced without the firm conviction that God holds the world in His hand and works all things together for my good. I would never have had the confidence to try to repent of my sin without the firm conviction that Christ died for me to earn my forgiveness. I would have given up rather than repent, step out in faith, and try again.
Sometimes we seem to have decided that the life of the mind is distinctly unchristian in some sense. As if God did not want us to think. Do we have to be so anti-intellectual?
I wish we would return to a more reasonable time and use the minds God has given us.