On Preachers and Preaching

From Richard Baxter, The Practical Works of The Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 19, The Catechising of Families (London, 1830), pages 254–256 [HT: J.I. Packer, The Redemption and Restoration of Man in the Thought of Richard Baxter (Regent, 2003), pages 158­–159]:

Q. What must Christ’s ministers say and do for the world’s conversion?

A. Luke xiv, and Matt. xxii, tell you: they must tell men of the marriage-feast, the blessed provision of grace and glory by Christ, and, by evidence and urgency, compel them to come in. …

Q. 5. In what manner must Christ’s ministers preach all this?

A. 1. With the greatest gravity and holy reverence; because it is the message of God.

2. With the greatest plainness; because men are dull of understanding.

3. With the greatest proof and convincing evidence, to conquer prejudice, darkness, and unbelief.

4. With powerful winning motives, and urgent importunity, because of men’s disaffection and averseness. And O what powerful motives have we at hand, from self-love, from God, from Christ, from necessity, from heaven and hell!

5. With life and fervency, because of the unspeakable importance of the matter, and the deadness and hardness of men’s hearts.

Evaluating Cross-Centered

No doubt there are severe limitations to text searches. Research methods (like the one I’m showing you today) can be too mechanical and overly simplistic and therefore lacking in accuracy. However, I have found them to sometimes illuminate interesting themes and their prominence in literature.

Recently I ran a text search on Richard Baxter’s massive book, Christian Directory to try and discover which terms he employs (and thereby create a wordle of sorts). Here is a sampling of words and phrases I searched for and the number of individual references within the book itself:

7,687 > “sin”
1,111 > “grace” [updated]
714 > “repent”
496 > “sanctif*”
479 > “wicked*”
366 > “hypocrit*”
123 > “forgive*”
58 > “wash*”
43 > “cleanse”
40 > “blood of Christ”
38 > “his blood”
18 > “the blood”
13 > “cross of Christ”
6 > “death of Christ”
1 > “atone*”

[It should be noted that since the word “cross” can be used simultaneously for the work of Christ and the hardship endured by the Christian I did not run a search on this term.]

I’m interested to hear from the TSS gallery.

What, if anything, does this chart tell us? Are there other more accurate terms to search? Even more broadly–and more importantly–what constitutes cross-centered preaching and writing? Merely the saturation of the terms? What other factors must be considered?

Thanks for the input!


History and Theology of the Puritans

tsslogo.jpgReformed Theological Seminary has blessed the wider Church by offering many class lectures for online download. These are available trough the iTunes store and come through your computer (for free!). Recently RTS may have added their best resource yet – History and Theology of the Puritans, a 16-part series delivered by Dr. J.I. Packer. [Packer penned the popular, A Quest For Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway: 1994).]

In over 11 hours of lectures, Packer covers …

1. The Puritan Identity – pt. 1 (45:14)
2. The Puritan Identity – pt. 2 (33:10)
3. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 1 (45:54)
4. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 2 (45:03)
5. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 1 (46:53)
6. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 2 (46:01)
7. Salvation by Grace – pt. 1 (46:41)
8. Salvation by Grace – pt. 2 (46:37)
9. Faith and Assurance – pt. 1 (46:32)
10. Faith and Assurance – pt. 2 (46:16)
11. The Good Fight – pt. 1 (46:22)
12. The Good Fight – pt. 2 (31:45)
13. Conscience (44:06)
14. Reformed Monasticism (43:01)
15. The Christian Minister (44:22)
16. Worship, Fellowship, and Discipline in the Church (27:40)


I hear you asking, So how do I enjoy this yummy goodness?

1. First, install the program iTunes on your computer by clicking here and following directions. Check first because there is a chance iTunes is already installed on your computer.

2. Once you have iTunes loaded you need to go to this website and click on the button under “Click to launch RTS on iTunes.”

3. You should now be in the RTS page in the iTunes store. Under “RTS Virtual Courses” click on “Church History.”

4. Then click on “History and Theology of the Puritans.” This will take you to the page for downloads.

5. To download just click the button “Get tracks” on the top (to get them all at once) or the button “Get” on the right side of each track (for individual downloads). The audio files will be downloaded into iTunes on your computer and from here you can listen to the mp3s, burn them to audio CDs, etc.

6. And be sure to download a PDF copy of the course syllabus.

And that, my Puritan friends, is how you get the yummy goodness of Packer on the Puritans into your computer and into your head!

Happy listening. And thank you to the gracious folks at RTS!