No Proclamation without Appeal

The second lesson we must learn from this Biblical coupling together of proclamation and appeal is the complementary one: we must never make the proclamation without then issuing an appeal.  If one had to choose between the two, I would rather have the proclamation than the appeal, but fortunately we are not faced with this choice.  We are to find room for both proclamation and appeal in our preaching if we would be true heralds of the King.  I am not presuming to say what form this appeal should take.  Nor am I advocating any particular evangelistic technique or method.  I am simply saying that proclamation without appeal is not Biblical preaching.  It is not enough to teach the gospel, we must urge men to embrace it.

Naturally, there are many factors which inhibit preachers from making this appeal.  There is a kind of hyper-Calvinism, which regards the call to repentance and faith as an attempt to usurp the prerogatives of the Holy Spirit.  Of course we agree that man is blind, dead and bound; that repentance and faith are the gifts of God; and that men are unable to turn from their sins to Christ without the prevenient grace of the Holy Spirit.  The apostle Paul taught these truths.  But this should not stop us from beseeching men to be reconciled to God, for the apostle Paul did this also!  Other preachers have a great horror of emotionalism.  So have I, if this means the artificial stirring of the emotions by rhetorical tricks or other devices.  But we should not fear genuine emotion.  If we can preach Christ crucified and remain altogether unmoved, we must have a hard heart indeed.  More to be feared than emotion is cold professionalism, the dry, detached utterance of a lecture which has neither heart nor soul in it.  Do man’s peril and Christ’s salvation mean so little to us that we feel no warmth rise within us as we think about them? (John Stott, The Preacher’s Portrait [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961], 57-8).

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