Eloquence from preachers has long been suspect among evangelicals. Beautiful words are assumed to draw attention away from God, and on to the speaker. Focused on gospel content, we want crisp outlines, nuts and bolts descriptions, and practical forceful 4x4 applications. Who could justify spending time on vivid, expressive, beautiful language?
John Wilson commented recently (Books and Culture Jan/Feb 2008) about today's general indifference to eloquence. Indeed, we need "to recognize a pervasive tendency in evangelicalism: an overweening earnestness. There is, of course, a time to be earnest, and much that is good in the evangelical tradition reflects this imperative. But how dreary, how deadly, when earnestness loses all sense of proportion."
There are obvious dangers in seeking eloquence for its own sake but, in the face of much dreary deadliness, how vitally preachers need to dwell in and express God's grace, with the wonder and beauty He deserves. "Shining like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life" Phil 2:15. Hands up those who would welcome a little more eloquence!