Friday, March 9, 2007

"Town and Gown" Preaching

One of the joys of my dissertation research is that it gives me the opportunity to read about men like William Perkins (He occupies a minor chapter in my work, but he certainly was not minor). Today I enjoyed a description of his preaching taken from Thomas Fuller's
The Holy State and the Profane State (1642), p. 81

" His sermons were not so plain but that the piously learned did admire them, nor so learned that the plain did not understand them...our Perkins brought the schools into the pulpit and, unshelling their controversies out of their hard school terms, made thereof plain and wholesome meat for his people."

Fuller continues...
"He would pronounce the word damn with such an emphasis, as left a doleful echoe in the auditor's ears a good while after; and when catechist of Christ-College, in expounding the Commandments, applied them so home, able almost to make his hearers fall down, and hairs to stand upright."

In Ramism in William Perkin's Theology (1987), Donald K. McKim wrote that the amazing thing about Perkins was how effectively he preached to both "town and gown." (p.7).

Just a reminder for me that learned preaching is not learned, until it helps people learn.


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