Quotable | thebereancall.org

Bjorlie, John A

When the vitality of the Word of God is missing from the pulpit, the vacuum has always been filled, sometimes by eloquence, by joke-telling, by man’s philosophies, or by anecdotes. Almost anything has been pulled in to fill the void, but the godly have shunned such froth. In many ways, the setting that [Girolamo] Savonarola spoke to was like ours. The Florence of Renaissance Italy was the capital of every diversion the world offered....

But just because people have itching ears does not mean we should obligate ourselves to scratch them. Paul spoke “not with enticing words of man’s wisdom” (1 Cor:2:4)....

Early in his career, a young friend advised him [Savonarola] that his manner of preaching did not compare favorably to that of a great (and now forgotten) orator of his day. “To which Savonarola made reply, almost in anger, ‘These verbal elegancies and ornaments will have to give way to sound doctrine simply preached.’”

Savonarola did not aim to impress the people with his preaching, but with the truth. In fact, his early attempts at preaching were flat and nondescript, but in time, by means of “sound doctrine simply preached,” that delivery became so eloquent it both stung and stunned the world.

—John A. Bjorlie, Uplook magazine, Nov. 1992, p. 23