One more thought, following my recent encounter with D.L. Moody. I remember reading a provocative comment about his preaching, in the light of today's technological razzmatazz! Bob Hitchings (of UK Reach and Teach) listened to some rare recordings of D.L. Moody's mission preaching and wrote:
"Both Moody and his musical accompanist, Ira Sankey, were unspectacular by modern standards. There wasn't anything distinctive about Moody's style of preaching. The key factor is that God used ordinary people to move the masses. People like Moody became powerful because God's anointing was upon them. Today you can gain prominence in the Christian world by having a good advertising agency. This is happening now more than any other time in history. This is the most sinister aspect of modern media."
Notice the word "anointing." It's rather out of fashion, like its counterpart "unction." It conveys spiritual reality and immediacy as the Holy Spirit works not only through the preacher's lips but in the hearer's lives (1 Thess.1:5). No preacher can manipulate this - it's God's gift working at the same deep level as worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24). Anointed preaching bears lasting fruit.
If Hitchings judged rightly that Moody was "unspectacular" by our standards of communication, yet God's anointing was upon him, he puts his finger on what may be missing today. Factor X - Holy Spirit power! Have you ever have experienced "anointed preaching"? What are its characteristics? It can't be manipulated, yet how can it be prepared for? Should we expect to see more of it? Is such "anointing" talk dangerously subjective? Earlier I blogged about preachers' "conviction" and "eloquence" - how does anointing relate to these? I know these are too many questions. But any help out there?