Excerpts from Preaching So As To Convert Nobody

By Charles G. Finney

Let your supreme motive be to secure your own popularity; then, of course, your preaching will be adapted to that end, and not to convert souls to Christ.

Aim at pleasing, rather than at converting your hearers.

Let your style be flowery, ornate, and quite above the comprehension of the common people.

Make no distinct points, and take no disturbing issues with the consciences of your hearers, lest they remember these issues, and become alarmed about their souls.

Avoid preaching doctrines that are offensive to the carnal mind, lest they should say of you, as they did of Christ, "This is a hard saying. Who can hear it?" and that you are injuring your influence.

Denounce sin in the abstract, but make no allusion to the sins of your present audience.

Keep the spirituality of God's holy law, by which is the knowledge of sin, out of sight, lest the sinner should see his lost condition, and flee from the wrath to come.

Preach the Gospel as a remedy, but conceal, or ignore the fatal disease of the sinner.

Preach salvation by grace; but ignore the condemned' and lost condition of the sinner, lest be should understand what you mean by grace, and feel his need of it.

Preach Christ as an infinitely amiable and good-natured being; but ignore those scathing rebukes of sinners and hypocrites which so often made his hearers tremble.

Avoid especially preaching to those who are present. Preach about sinners, and not to them. Say 'they', and not 'you', lest any one should make a personal and saving application of your subject.

Aim to make your hearers pleased with themselves and pleased with you, and be careful not to wound the feelings of any one.

Preach no searching sermons, lest you convict and convert the worldly members of your church.

Do not make the impression that God commands your hearers now and here to obey the truth.

Do not make the impression that you expect your hearers to commit themselves upon the spot and give their hearts to God.

Leave the impression that they are expected to go away in their sins, and to consider the matter at their convenience.

Make no appeals to the fears of sinners; but leave the impression that they have no reason to fear.

Say so little of Hell that your people will infer that you do not believe in its existence.

Make the impression that, if God is as good as you are, He will send no one to Hell.

Often present God in His parental love and relations; but ignore His governmental and legal relations to His subjects, lest the sinner should find himself condemned already, and the wrath of God abiding on him.

Flatter the rich, so as to repel the poor, and you will convert none of either class.

Make no disagreeable allusions to the doctrines of self-denial, cross-bearing, and crucifixion to the world, lest you should convict and convert some of your church members.

Should any express anxiety about their souls, do not probe them by any uncomfortable allusion to their sin and ill-desert; but encourage them to join the church at once, and exhort them to assume their perfect safety within the fold.

Be sure not to represent religion as a state of loving self-sacrifice for God and soul; but rather as a free and easy state of self-indulgence. By thus doing, you will prevent sound conversions to Christ, and convert your hearers to yourself.

Be time-serving, or you will endanger your salary and, besides, if you speak out and are faithful, you may convert somebody.

Lest you should pray too much, engage in light reading and worldly amusements.

That your people may not think you in earnest to save their souls, and, as a consequence, heed your preaching, encourage church-fairs, lotteries and other gambling and worldly expedients to raise money for church purposes.

If you do not approve of such things, make no public mention of your disapprobation, lest your church should give them up, and turn their attention to saving souls and be saved themselves.

Do not rebuke extravagance in dress, lest you should uncomfortably impress your vain and worldly church-members.

Lest you should be troubled with revival scenes and labors, encourage parties, picnics, excursions, and worldly amusements, so as to divert attention from the serious work of saving souls.

Ridicule solemn earnestness in pulling sinners out of the fire, and recommend, by precept and example, it jovial, fun-loving religion, and sinners will have little respect for your serious preaching.

Cultivate a fastidious taste in your people, by avoiding all disagreeable allusions to the last judgment and final retribution.

Treat such uncomfortable doctrines as obsolete and out of place in these days of Christian refinement.

Make little or no impression upon your hearers, so that you can repeat your old sermons of ten without its being noticed.

If your text suggest any alarming thought, pass lightly over it, and by no means dwell upon and enforce it.

Avoid all illustrations, repetitions, and emphatic sentences, that may compel your people to remember what you say.

Avoid all heat and earnestness in your delivery, lest you make the impression that you really believe what you say.

Address the imagination, and not the conscience, of your hearers.

Be careful not to testify from your own personal experience of the power of the Gospel, lest you should produce the conviction upon your hearers that you have something which they need.

Encourage the cultivation of the social in so many ways as to divert the attention of yourself and your church-members from the infinite guilt and danger of the unconverted among you.

In those sociables talk a little about religion, but avoid any serious appeal to the heart and conscience of those who attend, lest you should discourage their attendance, always remembering that they do not go to socials to be earnestly dealt with in regard to their relations to God. In this way you will effectually so employ yourself and church-members as that your preaching will not convert anybody.

The experience of ministers who have steadily adhered to any of the above rules, will attest the soul-destroying efficacy of such a course, and churches whose ministers have steadily conformed to any of these rules can testify that such preaching does not convert souls to Christ. http://biblebaptistbennington.com/ReachtheWorld.dsp

1 comment:

JeNi said...