Have We Forgotten ‘The Call’ to Preach?
As Christians, we have been given a commission; a command actually, namely, to make disciples of all nations. Obviously, the ‘Go’ part of the commission (not a command) is assumed. After all, you can’t make disciples unless you go where they are.
However, it has occurred to me that in one way or the other, the biblical call to preach is being set aside, if not altogether dismissed in many cases. There are ‘ministries’ popping up everywhere, and street preachers dot the boardwalks, highways and by-ways coast-to-coast. Is that wrong? Not necessarily.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, concerning the call to preach, once remarked that there should also be a sense of constraint when examining ones motives for preaching, be it on the street or behind a pulpit:
This is surely the most crucial test. It means that you have the feeling that you can do nothing else. It was Mr. Spurgeon, I believe, who used to say to young men – “If you can do anything else do it. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry.” I would certainly say that without any hesitation whatsoever. I would say that the only man who is called to preach is the man who cannot do anything else, in the sense that he is not satisfied with anything else. This call to preach is so put upon him, and such pressure comes to bear upon him that he says, ‘I can do nothing else, I must preach.’
In a day of celebrity preachers and attention-seeking, self-serving ministries and so forth, is it not warranted for all who preach to be absolutely certain that they as an individual have been truly called by God Almighty to proclaim the Gospel as a biblical preacher? – that mind you, as opposed to one who is young, restless, reformed and merely seeking a place in the world of Christendom.
Again, I would stress that there is no such thing, biblically speaking, as a ‘lay-preacher’ and there are many in this day whom, I believe, should cease preaching, and start sharing the Gospel as good soldiers, having gone into the world from which they have been redeemed.