TO PREACH WITHOUT RESULTS, by Rev. Charles G. Finney
Let your supreme motive be to increase your own
popularity -- then, of course, your preaching will
be suited for that purpose, and not to convert souls
Avoid preaching doctrines that are offensive to
the carnal mind, lest they should say to you, as
they did to Christ, "This is a hard saying,
who can hear it?"
Make no distinct points, and do not disturb the
consciences of your hearers, lest they become alarmed
about their souls.
Avoid all illustrations, repetitions, and emphatic
sentences that may compel your people to remember
what you say.
Avoid all heat and earnestness in your delivery,
lest you make the impression that you really believe
what you say.
Address the emotions, and not the conscience, of
careful not to testify from your own experiences
of the power of the Gospel, lest you should produce
the conviction upon your hearers that you have something
which they need.
Do not awaken uncomfortable memories by reminding
your listeners of their past sins.
Denounce sin in general, but make no reference to
the specific sins of your present audience.
Do not make the impression that God commands your
listeners here and now to obey the truth. Do
not let them think that you expect them to commit
themselves right on the spot to give their hearts
Leave the impression that they are expected to go
away in their sins, and to consider the matter at
Dwell much upon their inability to obey, and leave
the impression that they must wait for God to change
Preach salvation by grace, but ignore the condemned
and lost condition of the sinner, lest he should
understand what you mean by grace, and feel his
need of it.
Preach the Gospel as a remedy, but conceal or ignore
the fatal disease of the sinner.
Do not speak of the spirituality of God's holy law
(by which comes the knowledge of sin), lest the
sinner should see his lost condition and flee from
the wrath to come.
Make no appeals to the fears of sinners, but leave
the impression that they have no reason to fear.
Preach Christ as an infinite amiable and good-natured
being, but ignore those scathing rebukes of sinners
and hypocrites which so often made his hearers tremble.
Admit, either obviously or casually, that all men
have some moral goodness in them, lest sinners should
understand that they need a radical change of heart,
from sin to holiness.
Say so little of hell that your people will think
that you do not believe in its existence yourself.
Make the impression that, if God is as good as you
are, He could not send anyone to hell.
Make no disagreeable references to the teachings
of self denial, cross bearing, and crucifixion to
the world, lest you should convict and convert some
of your church members.
Do not rebuke the worldly tendencies of the church,
lest you should hurt their feelings, and finally
convert some of them.
Do not rebuke extravagance in dress, lest you should
make an uncomfortable impression on your vain and
worldly church members.
Encourage lots of church socials, and attend them
it your great aim to be personally popular with
all classes of your hearers.
Aim to make your hearers pleased with themselves
and pleased with you, and be careful especially
not to wound the feelings of anyone.
Especially avoid preaching to those who are present. Preach
about sinners, but not to them. Say "they,"
and not "you," lest anyone should take
your subject personally and apply it to their own
life, securing the salvation of their soul.