Showing posts with label evangelical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label evangelical. Show all posts

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Glorious Church - Her Altar and her Host (Fr Ignatius preaching at Westminster in 1897)



Go HERE for background on Father Ignatius, O.S.B. (the Rev'd Joseph Leycester Lyne), Evangelist Monk of the Church of England  In his warm and forthright evangelistic preaching, he was by no means unique among his generation of Anglo-Catholics. He had a huge following. This is a sermon he preached as part of a week long mission at Westminster Town Hall in the spring of 1887.


The text which I have taken for “The Altar “is Hebrews xiii.10. “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.” 

The text which I have taken for “The Host” is Hebrews x.15. “By one Offering (or Host, the “Host” meaning a sacrificial Offering, because the sacrifices were called hostia) He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

I should not be understood if I were not to preface my remarks by saying that as far as the visible altar is concerned, in the worship of the Visible Church, I take thoroughly the Catholic, and not the Protestant, view of the subject. I thoroughly accept the teaching of the Catholic Church with regard to the Altar and the Host offered on it; but I am not here to-day to speak on that aspect of the subject at all.

There is quite enough teaching, to my mind, amongst us Catholics, whether Roman or Anglican, respecting the Sacraments; but there is not one-half enough teaching respecting that substantial foundation on which the subject of the Sacraments alone can rest. I quite believe that there is a vast amount of harm done in our midst by - if I may be allowed the expression - the promiscuous preaching of Sacraments. I often think it would be a very good thing if we could draw a thick curtain in front of the altar, for numbers of people who come into our churches to worship. We have too much Sacramental teaching. When I say “too much,” I mean we have it forced on people who are not prepared to receive it; forced on congregations who are not, in a body, prepared, in the sight of God, to derive any benefit from the teaching; on people who have never come to Christ - who do not know Christ as the Altar on Whom alone our every offering must be laid, before it can be accepted of God.

Therefore, I want to talk about the Altar and the Host of that “Glorious Church” of the Redeemed; the Altar and the Host known, and loved, and used, and offered by those who are in Christ, and who have Eternal Life in Him.

But first, we must begin with the “Host.” It is a very remarkable fact that, through all the ages of human history, there has been the thought permeating every generation of men, that there is need for an offering for sin in the sight of God. The one great idea of worship in the heathen world, as well as in the Jewish Church, taught by special revelation, was offering sacrifices to God. As I have reminded you in this place on a former occasion, even now, at this present time, if it were not for prevention by force, on the part of the British Government, there would be, in the temple of the goddess Kali in Calcutta, a human sacrifice offered continually; for her worshippers believe that a human sacrifice atones for sin for a hundred years. The idea of sacrifice, and the shedding of innocent blood, is quite common, therefore, to civilised humanity’s worship.

I need not remind you that, in the old temples of the Romans, it was innocent blood that was offered before their gods. The idea of the innocent being offered for the guilty; the idea of the blood of the innocent victim being offered for the sin of the sinner, was quite a common, and universally accepted, idea.

Therefore the thought of a “Host” is almost a universal idea. It is not peculiar to revelation or the Word of God. 

When we come to the Jewish Church, which worshipped by distinct revelation from heaven, we find there emphatic laws laid down respecting sacrifices. We see plainly that Almighty God commanded the sacrifice to be performed before the eye of the Israelite by the ritual sacrifice of innocent victims.

All these things pointed to Christ. Even the very composition of the garments of the Jews pointed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The law of Moses is as full of Jesus as the four Gospels are, to those whose eyes are opened, and who are able, by the Holy Ghost, to understand these things. The idea then of “The Host” is absolutely necessary in all worship of the living God.

Thus, dear brethren, we come to the thought that, in this Glorious Church of God’s Redeemed, there must be a Host offered; and in my text we see what that Host is.

It is the Offering of Christ once for all. It is that Offering - the value of which no one can too greatly appreciate - which He Himself made. It is the one Offering which this Glorious Church acknowledges and none other. It is the one HOST in the Church of the Redeemed (who have accepted It and now offer It continually before God) - the one Sacrifice by which God “hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

Perhaps there are some Christians here who have not quite accepted the thought yet that the Offering of Christ on the Cross has perfected them, so far as forgiveness of sin is concerned; hut He paid our debt to the “uttermost farthing.” Therefore, as far as pardon for sin is concerned, that one Offering has perfected us for ever; for it has blotted out the sin of His people. “The Lord hath laid on Him,” when He was offered, “the iniquity of us all;” therefore we are perfected so far as pardon for sin is concerned.

Then this Offering perfected us for ever, inasmuch as it has purchased for us eternal Redemption. It is a Redemption that is eternal, for it is a Redemption that cannot be lost; cannot be put away; cannot be forfeited. It is eternal.
And it is not a Redemption of another kind, namely: - “I have made this one Offering to perfect My people so far as this; to redeem them from the power of sin and the devil, so long as they do so and so, and act in such and such a particular way!” If it were, I am sure there is not one who would have any “sure and certain hope” as to the efficacy of such an Offering. No, it has perfected us for ever so far as eternal life, pardon of sin, righteousness, satisfaction, atonement and redemption, are concerned - perfected us for ever.

That one Offering which Christ offered on the Cross is a finished Offering; and “there remaineth no more Offering for sin.” Whatever sin is committed, it can only be forgiven by that one “Host.” “By One Offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” 

To be sanctified means to be made holy; and this Offering has perfected for ever those who have been made holy - not who have made themselves holy, but those who have been made holy. “He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

St Paul says to the believing Church, to whom he writes: “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified;” and, in another place, “sanctified by faith.” Directly the soul of the sinner, by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, in the preaching of the Gospel of God, has accepted Christ in His fulness, he has accepted, in that Gift, sanctification. As the Apostle writes to the Corinthians: He “of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification.” Therefore this One Offering has “perfected for ever them that are sanctified,” by the faith that is in Him.

If you, at this moment, have the faith to recognize in Jesus Christ your salvation, your righteousness, your peace, you are one of the sanctified ones; and Jesus Christ, in His fulness, is the Host, the Victim, Which alone you offer, as a member of the “Glorious Church,” which He will present to Himself, “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” This is the Host of the “Glorious Church.”

Do we offer this Host? Do we offer this Sacrifice for our sin? Do we rest on this Living Host, this shame-filled Host, this agonized Host, this once bleeding Victim of Calvary? And, as we there learn to find complete and immediate pardon, do we also learn to find deeper hatred, and deeper enmity, towards that sin which crucified the Lord of glory? Can I look at the offered Victim of Mount Calvary; see the crown of thorns on that brow; see the blood mingling with the tears; the sorrow and the anguish of that awful death of shame; the bleeding, outstretched hand; the pierced side; and then remember that it was my sin which crucified the Lord of Glory, and yet be willing for this sin to be uppermost within me?

It is the continual power of the believer to offer this Host, which gives him such a power over sin. There comes a fresh power which enables him to realise the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that rendered necessary the offering of such a Host as the bleeding Son of God on Calvary.

Therefore, in this Church of the Redeemed, the Host, the Perpetual, Living Host, the Host that continually cries for mercy and grace for the Church - the Glorious Church of His love - this Host is nothing but the Offering of Christ “which has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

Now, brethren, do we know how, every day, to offer this Host? If you are Catholics, some of you go to the daily Mass, where, in solemn rite, by Christ’s appointment, you “show forth the Lord’s death till He come.” But do you go to Mass as a mere formalist or as a living Christian, a living part of the Glorious Church of the Redeemed? Do you see there, in that solemn Christian rite, offered in the way in which Christ, in the Gospel, appointed, His finished work for the believer; do you know how there to lay hold of, by renewed confidence and faith, day after day, the complete satisfaction of Calvary? Do you realise there, in all the solemn rite of the Church, that it is Jesus, and Jesus only, in Whom you can have hope of possessing pardon, salvation, and everlasting glory?

I recollect a young Roman Catholic woman who attended our services. She told me that her clergyman had given her up altogether - that he could do her no good at all. She seemed rather to boast about having given up all religion; but she came to our mission service; and, all at once, by God’s grace, her eyes were opened to see that she was just such a sinner as the Saviour Jesus came to draw to His arms; and when the mission was over she had sunk restfully into the Saviour’s keeping; and she was able to say that she knew she had eternal life in Christ.

After going to church the next Sunday morning, she came back to tell me that The Mass was a totally different thing to her now; that it had been nothing but an outward form of worship to her all her life before; but that it was now full of spiritual meaning for her.

Every single ceremony had for her a living reality now; and I shall never forget the look on her face as she said how she blessed God that she had been able to come to Christ, and “make her calling and election sure.”

Now, my Protestant brethren, although you do not go to Mass, you say at the end of almost all your prayers: “Through Jesus Christ our Lord; “and yet how many hundreds of times do you say these words with the lips, without, in the least, realising their tremendous, their overwhelming power; for every prayer must fall flat to the earth unless it be offered through Him Who is the Only Offering by Which it can become accepted!

Do you, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, make use of this Host, in your prayers, really and truly? Have you learnt to realise that when, from the heart, you offer your prayer to God, and plead it in the Name, and for the sake, of Jesus, it is accepted, and that it must be answered, as is most pleasing to God, and in God’s own time?

Oh, brethren, let us try to realise that Jesus Christ is a Host of glory; that Jesus Christ is a Host of satisfaction; that Jesus Christ is a Host of treasures, and riches, and grace, always pleading in the midst of the Glorious Church of the Redeemed! We cannot exaggerate the power; we cannot exaggerate the efficacy of the pleading of this Victim, Jesus Christ, Who, “by One Offering hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

And now, concerning “The Altar “of the “Glorious Church.” Here again we have only to gaze on Jesus, for Jesus is the Altar on Whom all our acts, great and small, must be offered if they are to be acceptable to God. Yes! a penny laid on this Altar is accepted of God; but a cheque for £100 not offered in Christ and for Christ’s sake, is rejected! Only the offerings laid on this Altar are righteous offerings. All the rest of our righteousnesses are “filthy rags.”
Then, brethren, what wasted actions, what wasted words there are in Christians’ lives unnecessarily!

I will just tell you what I mean. A poor woman, with two starving children, was singing down a street under the windows of some people whom I know, not very far from here. She was very much distressed, and trudged along with one little child in her arms, and the other clinging to her hand. One of my friends, who looked out upon this sad-looking trio, went down to the door, opened it, and beckoning to the little child, who was walking, put into its hand a shilling, saying: “Give this to your mother, and tell her the Lord Jesus sends it to her.” The little child’s look of reverence and awe was something marvellous. She took the shilling as if it were something divine, and went with it to her mother, and the mother almost went down on her knees in the road as the child repeated: “Mother, the Lord Jesus sends you this.”

Brethren, that shilling was laid on the Altar! Do you lay your shilling on the Altar? Do you lay your daily acts on the Altar? Do you lay your every offering on the Altar? If you do not, your offerings are wasted offerings, so far as eternity is concerned. They will bear no fruit; and so far as God is concerned, God does not accept them. It is only in Christ and for Christ that our actions, great and small, are accepted.

This is the Altar of the Glorious Church! And what dignity it gives to human life when we consider that we have this Royal Altar in our midst! Oh! begin to offer your offerings on the Golden Altar in this Glorious Church, and you will receive the grace of God. Lay everything on the Altar.

In your churches, when the offerings of the people have to be collected, the churchwardens bring them to the Priest, who receives them on the plate, and offers them on the Altar. Well, this is just what we should do with the daily actions of our lives; with our daily struggles with sin; our daily endeavours to benefit our fellow-men and glorify God; we should just offer them on our Altar!

Do all for Christ’s sake, so that when you do anything for anyone, you are offering your gifts on the Altar! And if we could only see, with the true seeing of faith, the magic process of what takes place in our offering! The instant it is offered in Christ, the simplest, the poorest, offering becomes transubstantiated into a perfect offering of glory and beauty before God.

Dearest brothers and sisters, if some of us had realised the use of this Altar, when we were younger, what far less wasted lives our lives would have been; what far larger treasures we should have accumulated in Heaven against the eternal years of His Glory! Oh, the number of cheques you have drawn for a charity without a thought of Christ; only perhaps in order to have your name in a subscription list! Oh, what a number of kind words you have spoken, not for Christ’s sake, but only to please yourselves!

How many actions and words have been wasted, in God’s sight,that have not been put on the Altar!

God accepts nothing apart from Christ. Your offerings must be laid on the Altar of which we are speaking, before they can be treasured up in Heaven, and accepted in the presence of God.

Thanks be to God Who hath given us this Altar; and may God grant that these poor, weak words of mine may help you to make use of this Altar. And then I can assure you that your lives will be much brighter; your lives will be much more full of sunshine, and your actions will give you much more satisfaction; and you will realise, in very deed and truth, that whatever you do, you do it all to the glory of God; “that God in all things may be glorified, through Jesus Christ.”

Begin your day of a morning by offering up its coming hours on the Altar. Have your best intentions laid on the Altar at the beginning of the day, and I am sure Jesus will take care of them, when you have forgotten many of them. He will take care of the intentions, and the offerings of the early morning hour, which you have laid on His Altar.

I am certain of this, that as we thus go on through life towards its evening, our Lord will unfold to us some of the beauties and the privileges of His “Glorious Church,” in ways which perhaps some of us have only half realised - yes, perhaps have only half understood.

And then we shall, in very truth, realise, and rejoice in realising, what the “Glorious Church” is. Then we shall know that in this Church there is ever a Host pleading, every moment of the day and night continually, for us, whom “He hath perfected for ever;” and that in this “Glorious Church” we ever have an Altar of Royal Gold, upreared by the Love of God Himself; on which our tiniest, as well as our greatest offerings may be laid; and that when thus laid, instantaneously they become accepted of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.




Thursday, July 18, 2013

Forward in Faith North America - Declaration of Faith & Purpose



The Forward in Faith North America National Assembly is in session at Belleville, Illinois. The theme of this year's Assembly is "Ecclesiology at the Crossroads." The keynote speaker is former Bishop of Rochester in the Church of England, the Rt Rev'd Michael Nazir-Ali. 

Hot off the press from the Assembly is this declaration. We pray for the Council of FiFNA and all clerical and lay members as they witness to the Faith once delivered to the saints.


FORWARD IN FAITH NORTH AMERICA
DECLARATION OF COMMON FAITH AND PURPOSE

In the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: the Father the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I ________, a Lay Member/Religious/Deacon/Priest/Bishop and my spouse, _________ a Lay Member/Religious/Deacon of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, affirm the following so that the faithful witness to apostolic Faith and catholic Order may be continued within the Churches of Anglican heritage.

1. I believe our Lord Jesus Christ has given His Church an Order which claims the loyalty of faithful Christians above and beyond any deviation sanctioned by any humanly-invented institution, whether secular or ecclesiastical.

2. I accept the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as “containing all things necessary to salvation,” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith and morals.

3. I accept the Apostles’ Creed as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.

4. I accept the historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church. I affirm the Christian ministerial priesthood as male and that the churches of the Anglican Communion have no authority to change the historic tradition of the male priesthood. I pray that God grants me the strength and ability to uphold the Church’s Order, both materially and spiritually as concerns the ministerial priesthood of His holy Church. Accordingly, I will reject any and all actions that might signify acceptance of a deviation from the Church’s Order regarding the Christian ministerial priesthood.

5.  I recognize the seven Sacraments of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church - Baptism and the Supper of the Lord - ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution, and of the elements ordained by Him, Confirmation, Matrimony, Ordination, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction of the Sick.

6. I believe that, in the Sacrament and mystery of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ is truly, really and substantially present in the Body and Blood in the outward and visible sign of Bread and Wine. (cf. 1 Cor. 10: 16-17, 11:23-29, John 6:32-71)

7. I affirm our Lord’s teaching that the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is in its nature the exclusive, permanent and lifelong union of one man and one woman.

8. I believe all Seven Councils are ecumenical and catholic on the basis of the received Tradition of the ancient Undivided Church of East and West.

9. I affirm that God, and not man, is the creator of human life. Believing that the unjustified taking of life is sinful, I will promote and uphold the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

In making this Declaration, I accept all the responsibilities which pertain to the common witness of all who participate in this endeavor and I ask God’s blessing upon our labors.

Having signed this Declaration, I hereby apply for Membership/Associate Membership in Forward in Faith, North America.

Please return to: 
Forward in Faith, North America
P.O. Box 210248
Bedford TX 76095-7248


Friday, August 31, 2012

Canon Middleton's lecture on ecclesiology at the FCA (i.e. GAFCON) Leaders Conference, April 2012



I have always believed that at its best and most authentic, the Anglican "patrimony" holds together the truly catholic and the truly evangelical. This is not always apparent to those who view the history of our church through the lens of "churchmanship squabbles", or whose only experience of Anglicanism is the disintegration taking place in various parts of the world today. So I'm glad to alert readers to a lecture Canon Arthur Middleton delivered at the April 2012 Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (i.e. "GAFCON") Leadership Conference in London: The Anglican Mind in Caroline and Tractarian Thought. 

Canon Middleton's lecture is all about the doctrine of the Church. But it's much more than that. It explores and celebrates both the catholic and evangelical traditions of Anglicanism, and emphasises their mutual enrichment. 

Canon Middleton is Honorary Fellow of St Chad's College Durham, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Patron of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. He is on the Church Union Council Standing Committee and Publications Committee, and the Editorial Board of New Directions. A writer of numerous books and articles, he has completed three lecture tours in Canada and Australia. 

The lecture in question can be downloaded in its entirety as a pdf document HERE

Towards the end, Canon Middleton quotes twice from Anglican Vision, by Emmanuel Amand de Mendieta (1907–1976), a Belgian Benedictine scholar well-known for his work on St Basil of Caesarea, who joined the Church of England in 1962, accepting appointment to a residentiary canonry of Winchester. I share with you these quotes, because, like Canon Middleton, I think that de Mendiata is right about catholic and evangelical traditions: 

". . . both traditions are older than these revivals [i.e. the Evangelical Revival of the 18th century and the Oxford Movement of the 19th]. Their continuity and homogeneous development can be traced from Reformation times: through Nicholas Ridley, bishop of London, to Charles Simeon (1759-1836); through Lancelot Andrewes, bishop of Winchester, to Bishop Charles Gore (1853-1932); through Nicholas Ferrar of Little Gidding to Richard Meux Benson, the founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist at Cowley (1824-1915). At all periods throughout these centuries, we observe men of great piety and devotion within both traditions: Henry Martyn, the Evangelical missionary (1781-1812) and John Keble, one of the fathers of the Oxford Movement (1792-1866); Charles Simeon, one of the main leaders of the Evangelical Revival and Edward Bouverie Pusey, the outstanding Tractarian leader (1800-82); James Hannington, the Evangelical bishop of East Equatorial Africa (1847-85) and Frank Weston, the Anglo-Catholic bishop of Zanzibar(1871-1924). Yet the differences between each pair of men seem to disappear, when contrasted with the Christ-centred devotion which enlivened them all . . . The remarkable feature of the different types of devotion, shown by various saintly men of the Church of England, is not the tenacity with which each holds to his particular tradition, but their common devotion to Christ. This devotion has always grown, and still grows, out of the love and study of the Scriptures, and out of an affectionate adherence to the piety of the Book of Common Prayer. Neither the Catholic nor the Evangelical type of Anglican holiness can be explained in terms of a practical via media, or of a Church which is committed to some form of Anglo-Saxon compromise."

* * * * *

"The fullness of Anglicanism will be utterly catholic and uncompromisingly evangelical at the same time. Both these emphases are present in the New Testament making it necessary to set such Scriptural truths and realities in their Scriptural complementarity. Michael Ramsey claimed that the Anglican Church does not see the Evangelical and the Catholic views as alternatives, but in the Scriptural sense where both elements are one. This ethos has enabled the Anglican Communion to look not for a synthesis but rather for a symbiosis, a growing together in a living whole of the sundered Christian traditions and with humility seek to promote it. They can do so because in its own ecclesial life the Anglican Communion has found these evangelical and catholic elements to be complementary and necessary to the fullness of a Church's life and mission."


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An evening with Father Stanton at Oxford



Father Arthur Stanton, a greatly loved eccentric who combined the Catholic faith and evangelical fervour, was for fifty years curate of St. Albans, Holborn, London. A faithful priest, powerful preacher and caring pastor, he died at the age of seventy-four in March 1913. Father Stanton was once asked what he hoped might be carved on his tombstone. His answer was simple yet profound: “He preached Jesus and only Jesus.” 

The following is taken from Arthur Stanton, a Memoir, by G.W.E. Russell, published in 1917 (pages 251-258). It is a clergyman’s reminiscence of an evening with Father Stanton in Oxford, and gives us a glimpse of his love for God and for the people he served. 


It was in the Hilary Term of 1906 or 1907, I think, that among the notices of the meetings of a society known at Oxford as the De Rebus Ecclesiasticis appeared the statement that on a certain day Father Stanton would speak on his Recollections of St. Alban’s, Holborn. 

The ‘society’ was a formless thing, without rules of membership or list of members; it had two undergraduate secretaries who sent its list of meetings to graduates and undergraduates, who were supposed to be interested in Church matters. I was myself by that time a graduate and in Orders, and I remember asking one of the Pusey House clergy a day before the meeting whether he was going to it. ‘No, I’m not,’ he said; ‘none of us are. Stanton doesn’t like clergymen at these things, and he’ll be best pleased if we stay away.’ 

Undaunted by my friend’s warning, I made my way after Hall to St. John’s. The meeting was held in a big, panelled room in the inner quad, and though I was in pretty good time, when I got there the room was packed with men. All the chairs and the window-seats were full. I managed to get a place on the floor where a man’s boot-toe kept kicking the back of my head. It was not a comfortable seat, but I wouldn’t have missed that evening for a great deal. 

At a few minutes before the time for the meeting to begin Fr. Stanton came in, very quickly, and sat down in an arm-chair close to the fire. There was the usual awkward pause, and then a nervous secretary got up, and after a few halting words of introduction said we were ready for Fr. Stanton’s paper. 

Stanton - I can see him now - took out of his pocket a well-worn Bible and said, 

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Need For Evangelical Preaching

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Melbourne, I purchased a copy of The New Evangelisation - Developing Evangelical Preaching, published by Connor Court. It contains edited transcripts of talks given by Roman Catholics whose ministries include evangelical preaching at Australia's Third Colloquium on the New Evangelisation in 2008.

Edited by Bishop Julian Porteous of the (RC) Archdiocese of Sydney (who also contributed a chapter), the other contributors are: Archbishop Mark Coleridge (Canberra), Fr Ken Barker (Missionaries of God's Love, Canberra), Shayne & Shanelle Bennett (Net Ministries, Brisbane) Fr Anthony Robbie (Archdiocese of Sydney), and Robert Falzon (Men Alive, Brisbane).

I read this book through in one sitting and was gripped by all that it conveyed about the importance of preachers learning to preach "evangelically." Certainly, a great feature of the second phase of the Oxford Movement - or "Catholic Revival" within Anglicanism - was the gripping evangelical preaching of parish clergy like Father Stanton and Father Dolling. Over time such preaching gave way to harmless antiseptic homilies . . . theologically correct, no doubt, but without the power to convert seekers to Jesus. I am sure that every priest and lay preacher (RC as well as Anglican) needs to buy this book and learn its lessons in order to understand what is required of us today.

I give you here one of the key passages in the book (p 111 ff):

Sometimes we hear about homily programmes in Dioceses where a series of doctrinal and moral teachings cover the whole Catechism in the course of a couple of years. This is using the homily time as an instructional sermon. It is a deliberate attempt to combat the so-called endemic Catholic problem - ignorance. We need to know "the faith". However, if we only give doctrine with clarity we may be tempted to think our problems are solved. To the contrary 1 maintain that, no matter how much good instruction we give, the Catholic people will remain sadly impoverished if they do not experience evangelical preaching. The language of evangelical preaching is not instructional. It is imaginative.

The aim of evangelical preaching is to call to deeper conversion by proclaiming the kerygma and making the mystery of Christ effectively present. This cannot be done by the language of instruction. A different type of discourse is necessary. Instruction tells us about Jesus. But the Catholic people are saying, "Sir. we want to see Jesus"! This means we want to come to know Him; we want the preacher to reveal Him to us in such a way that our hearts are opened and we are given new life and hope" . . .


The Holy Spirit is moving in the Church in these days, raising up new preachers who have fire in their bellies. This fire has been ignited by the love of God and a living encounter with the Risen Christ. They preach with boldness and a deep conviction of the truth they proclaim.
They do not use the arguments of philosophy but claim only to know Jesus, and more specifically, Jesus Crucified. They unashamedly proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus, trusting in the inherent power of the Gospel to save. They have a profound love for the people to whom they are sent, and they know the culture in which they move. They are sensitive to the entry points for the transforming power of the Gospel. They are not afraid to share of themselves; however, they are not preaching themselves but Christ, who is the power and wisdom of Cod. Their language is creative and appealing since it is image-laden, metaphoric and poetic. These preachers bring a message of the healing love of God into the broken hearts of their contemporaries, who are drawn by the compelling message of love to open their hearts to Christ as their Saviour and Lord. This style of . . . preaching gives birth to faith in Christ, and renews the Church at its core. Of all the gifts that are needed at this moment in the Church's history, surely we must pray ardently for the gift of evangelical preaching to be released more powerfully . . . we can pray confidently that the promise of Jesus will be fulfilled in our midst: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and then you will be my witnesses...' (Acts 1:8). May this anointing set fire to an ever-increasing band of evangelical preachers for the Church's mission in the world today.