Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday Quote : Donald Fraser - Preaching Christ

Our specimen of Fraser's preaching comes from a sermon on 1 Corinthians 2.1-7 entitled 'Successful Ministry'. In it Fraser sets out the Biblical definition of a successful ministry, and enforces on all preachers the Apostle Paul's example. Note What he DOES NOT say. A successful ministry is not about the size of the congregation, it is about faithfulness to the message. We only give part of Fraser's first point here. To-morrow, God willing, we shall give part of his second point.

"The preacher's theme [is] 'Jesus Christ'. This included His power as God-man - His offices as Redeemer and Mediator - His declaration of the Father, and His relation to believers as their righteousness and strength, the light of the world, and the life of all who truly live. Not Christianity, but Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our Friend. There are other truths, but this is central and indispensable; just as there are many planets and moons in our system, but it is the sun in the centre that keeps us alive and warm, and covers the earth with life and beauty.
"No doubt we live in a favoured country of Christendom; and som e appear to think that there is little need to preach Jesus Christ, for all have heard of Him. What people need to know is, what can Jesus Christ do in their lives. Can He give them less work and more pay? Or, others would ask, can He help them in any way to solve problems in science, or win triumphs in art? And if the pulpit is to lay itself out to answer all these demands and occupy itself with these mundane affairs - farewell to the Gospel. But we preach Christ to meet deeperwants than these. We are persuaded that even in such a community as this there are many who have no real knowledge of Christ as a Saviour, and there are none who have as much knowledge as they ought to have; and as He is the all of the Gospel, we hold it our first duty to preach Jesus Christ.
"'And Him Crucified.' Paul had not been able to speak of this at Athens. He made amends for it at Corinth. It was no doubt a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks; but the Apostle knew that to preach on the life and doctrine and example of Christ would not effect much, unless he put before the people Christ crucified. Here is redemption! Here is love! Here is the putting away of sin, for He was crucified for us! Here is deliverance from sin, as we are crucified with Him. Nothing has such a peace for the human conscience, or such a power over the human heart, as the setting forth of Christ crucified.
With this, Paul began at Corinth. By this preaching he won his converts there alike from Judaism, and from heathenism. It is always the Gospel that wins converts; it is Christ lifted up on the cross who draws all to Himself. You may alarm men, and convince them of their sin and misery by pressing the law of duty and the authority and claims of God on their conscience; but you never convert them without Christ and Him crucified. This is the word that wins the heart, and reinforces the Church, and gives to all Christian ministers their conquering energy."

(Note: Since we have not been able to find a picture of Fraser himself, our illustration is of the old Trinity Presbyterian Church, Norwich, which Fraser opened. The picture shows it after it was gutted by incendiary bombs during the Second World War) UPDATE: We have now obtained a picture of Donald Fraser, and it will be put on this blog shortly.

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