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Preacher's Mistakes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ira Turner   


Messenger Of Peace--January 1898

I often hear the inquiry, “What makes that preacher sing his ser­mons so? What makes him start off on the key of and talk so much at random? I don’t see that he takes a position anywhere, but it is real funny to us in the back of the house and we cannot keep from laughing.” another asks, “What makes him grunt so at the end of every sentence? If it hurt me that bad to preach I would quit,” etc.

Now that manner of preaching is just calculated for young people to laugh at…so, instead of that, we want preaching conducted in such a way that it will interest the young people, especially that part of them that have within them the marks of re­generation. It is from these that the church is built up and our con­gregations kept up.

Again, it seems that some men think it takes a whole week’s preach­ing, fighting Campbellites, Mission­aries, and Arminians in general, to prove to the Baptist brethren that that they are sound Old Baptists, and by the time he is half done his job be has either insulted or hurt the feelings of one-half his congregation and they have quit coming to hear him. Then be has nothing left to work on except the Old Baptists and only the flesh has been fed and the soul or spirit is not edified, nor the cause benefited. Now it is right and lawful under many circum­stances to contend for points of doctrine, and to contrast the differ­ence between truth and error, and we should do so with earnestness and candor, accompanied with humil­ity, without any degree of impu­dence, which so little becomes a gospel preacher.

I have also listened to prayers by some good brethren who have be­come addicted to the habit of using the reverential phrase, “Our heaven­ly arid divine Father,” at the begin­ning of every sentence in their prayer. If their prayer was written down and published with that sen­tence stricken out their prayer would not be half so long, and yet just as much said, and God’s bless­ing as earnestly sought. Jesus says, “Use not vain repetitions.”

I have also seen a congregation gathered at the water’s edge, pre­paratory for baptism, in cold, wintry weather, with snow on the ground, and heard the preacher line and sing that lengthy hymn of about eight verses, “Christians, if your hearts be warm,” repeating two lines at a time, then singing, after which he would engage in a general prayer, pray for everything and everybody he could think of, under every condition and circumstance, and lengthen his prayer out to fifteen or twenty min­utes, while the people were standing exposed to the snow and bleak wind, when an appropriate verse or two and a short prayer, invoking the blessings of heaven, would have been heard just as acceptably, and the people much more edified.

I have also heard brethren come to the communion table to distribute the emblems and instead of asking our Lord in an humble way to bless the bread as he did when he first instituted the supper, they kneel and make a general prayer of eight or ten minutes. Then the next, if there be two, instead of giving thanks for the cup, as did our Lord, he also engages in a lengthy prayer, and then while the emblems are be­ing distributed the preacher enters into a lengthy discussion of the subject of close communion, becomes enthusiastic and uses all the argu­ments he is master of to prove that our way is right, and gets so warmed up that he seems to not notice when all have been waited upon, and thus one-half or three quarters of an hour has been occupied when all could have been decently attended to in ten or twelve minutes.

Now Paul expressly says that the spirit of prophecy is subject to the prophets. We also ought to take heed to ourselves and to all the flock over the which to Holy Ghost has made us overseers, to feed the church of God which he bath pur­chased with his own blood.

Now, Brother Cash, I have only written some things that have come under my observation, in my thirty-year ministry. I am yet a learner, have always tried to improve myself by seeing my mistakes and the mis­takes of others, and if any of our brethren are yet guilty of these mis­takes try to improve your habits. If any notice my mistakes do, I pray, tell me so that I may try to quit them.             


Ashland, Mo. Nov 26, 1897

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.