PREACHING AND THE GREAT AWAKENING
In Iain H. Murray’s book, Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marrying of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, describes the ministry of Samuel Davies, a Presbyterian pastor who eventually became president of Princeton. Davies was subscribing to the Pauline theology of the Reformation when he said that men
are estranged from God, and engaged in rebellion against him; and they love to continue so. They will not submit, nor return to their duty and allegiance. Hence there is need of a superior power to subdue their stubborn hearts, and sweetly constrain them to subjection; to inspire them with the love of God and an implacable detestation of all sin. And for this purpose the Holy Spirit of God is sent into the world: for this purpose, he is at work, from age to age, upon the hearts of men. (p19)”
When one thinks of the need for a Great Awakening, you have to ask what kind of preaching are you doing and what kind of preaching describes the average contemporary pulpit. Most likely it has quietly slipped away from the Pauline doctrine of original sin and separation of the sinner from God. It most likely does not emphasize the offense of the sinner against the holiness of God, wrath of God against the sinner, or the radical nature of the God, of God’s love and to the extent he goes to overcome our sin on our behalf or the need for repentance and confession.
If there is ever to be another Great Awakening , we must examine our own preaching and even our own convictions. People cannot respond to what they do not hear.