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“Brains in the Pulpit”

In Pastoral Ministry, Roy T. Brumbaugh on 06/08/2011 at 15:40

As we approach the Lord’s day, here is a reminder for pastors, and an encouragement for congregations to support their pastors in the good, but difficult work of sermon preparation. At the time he wrote this, Rev. Brumbaugh was serving his second pastorate, in the pulpit of the Presbyterian church in Coatesville, PA.

“Brains in the Pulpit”
by Rev. Roy T. Brumbaugh
[The Presbyterian 96.6 (11 Feb. 1926): 8.] 

“WANTED—brains in the pulpit.” The caption caught my eye while reading the Christmas number of The Literary Digest. I found that President Butler was again on a rampage ; yet there may be some reason in his madness. Dean Inge, in a recent article, deplored “the inferior intellectual quality” of the clergy. Perhaps the “gloomy Dean” has something concrete on which to base his accusation.

Observation leads me to believe that not so many ministers really study. Usually not because they do not want to, but because they do not have time to. The ordinary minister cannot be a strong pastor and a strong preacher at the same time, and so following popular demand and ofttimes the line of least resistance he abandons study, and takes to the street.

An ordinary minister cannot handle the executive responsibilities of a good-sized congregation with the variety of programme demanded by the average church, plus community duties, and at the same time sound the depths of profound thought ; so, succumbing to the cry of the hour, he builds up a splendid ecclesiastical machine and participates actively in the secular interests of the community. Oh, they starve to death.

Pastoral visitation has its place, and many are called to specialize therein. The Church needs good executives, and God bless the man who is thus endowed ; but are not Christian ministers over-emphasizing these things to the neglect of constructive Bible instruction?

All ministers must do some pastoral work ; all must organize their parishes, at least after a fashion, yet the study is still the place where soul food is prepared and the spiritual life of the minister built-up. Read the rest of this entry »