This is a picture of me on the steps of the church where Jonathan Edwards' church stood on Main street in Northampton. Edwards' actual church burned down but the half-circle step I'm standing on dates back to Edwards' church. As far as anyone knows this step is the only thing remaining from Edwards' days. I'll share more of my pics from Northampton as I continue to review the 9 Edwards' sermons in The Salvation of Souls.
The sermon titled "The Kind of Preaching People Want" was a bit of a surprise to me. When I first saw the title I thought it was going to be about preaching the Word of God as opposed to a bunch of stories. I thought Edwards' was going to get to the heart of Biblical preaching and bash all forms of false preaching. Well, to my surprise, that is not at all what this sermon is about.
This sermon is about the kind of preaching unspiritual people want. It is about the kind of preaching people want who only want to gratify their sinful cravings. I'll be honest: I've never heard anything like this in my life. I've never even considered this topic that Edwards takes up.
Edwards basically rebukes the people for the inward cravings of their hearts. He says that what they really want is preachers who tell them it is OK to sin and indulge the flesh. He says preaching would be a much easier task if the purpose where to encourage sinful cravings. He basically says that if the people got what they wanted, preachers would have the best job in the world and be the most popular people around.
I think this sermon is brilliant. I think it is one of the most convicting sermons I have ever read. As I read, I found myself agreeing with Edwards. Indirectly, this sermon is a challenge to preachers: "Your task as a preacher is to be countercultural. Your task as a preacher is to say some hard things that the people do not want to hear. Your task as a preacher is to preach the truth and let the Holy Spirit do his work in sinful, rebellious hearts."
I'll leave it at that and let you read the sermon for yourself.