Dear MPC Family,
You may have wondered who some of the people are that I have quoted in sermons or on the front of the Sunday church bulletin, and why I am quoting them.
The quotes on the bulletin’s cover are not just random quotes. They were chosen in an attempt to complement the sermon with an idea that will spike your interest up front, get you thinking about where we are headed, and give you a little more insight into the passage preached. Sometimes, also, time constraints on my allotted time to preach leave me unable to develop a point in the sermon that is relevant to the passage. So, if I think the idea is something you should consider, a quote might be provided that touches upon that idea.
The quotes in the sermons come about due to my acknowledgment, in some cases, that “I can’t say it better;” “They illustrate the point perfectly, why change it?” And, in general, the insertion of a quote is designed to strengthen the thesis of the sermon. Some quotes also give weight to whatever point I’m trying to make, because of who said it. If John Calvin, for example, makes the same point, or agrees with the point, it lends credibility to what I’m preaching (at least in Reformed Presbyterian circles). Plus, people deserve credit for their ideas, and plagiarism is best avoided.
The individuals quoted are often various preachers, commentators, authors, professors, teachers, church fathers, and theologians whose work I have come across in my studies. These various figures go back from present time all the way to the earliest years of the church. I also have been known to quote from magazines, movies, and comic books.
Now, I don’t always agree with everything these folks have said or written (even John Calvin), or what they felt passionately about and championed in their work. Yet, as coined by Francis Schaeffer (whom I hope to do a “Link” article on), there is a “True truth.” In other words, all real truth is God’s truth even when you find it in places you’d never expect—e.g. other religions, the culture, and across genres of literature.
Each Sunday, sometime before the sermon, take a moment and read the quote on the bulletin and note who said it. Also, during the sermon, note who and what is quoted. Over the next few months I plan to, Lord willing, highlight a few of these individuals for you in the “Link” articles. My hope is this will give you a little more perspective into church history and these great people whose works have impacted our understanding of the faith.