"The bugle call to a heavenly warfare must be given with no uncertain sound" is a typical word from Dr. Roland Q. Leavell's Prophetic Preaching, Then and Now. There is a challenge to preachers in this book. It is stirring. It is both practical and lofty, both convicting and loving, both pungent and inspiring. All of us preachers need its message.
This book in its entirety is built upon The Word. The author exalts JESUS and Moses as the supreme examples of prophetic preachers. Out of the words of these great preachers and those who have followed in their train he builds messages that deal with preachers' problems frankly, unflinchingly, and evangelistically.
Dr. Leavell's remarkably rich and varied experience prepared him in a peculiar sense to speak to his fellow preachers as he does in this work. The lives of few men have embodied so much experience from the pastorate, the evangelistic ministry, the responsibilities of a denominational leader, the visions of a seminary president, the passion for teaching Biblical truth, and the arts of an author of books designed to aid preachers.
Dr. Leavell's determination to spend his energies and talents to the utmost in the prophetic ministry is represented by this book. It was brought to a conclusion in the midst of many months of Bible teaching in the churches combined with continual preaching. Though in retirement because of his health, it was his joy to continue this kind of ministry. Two weeks before the Lord's call came to a ministry in Heaven, he wrote at length to the author of this foreword to express his appreciation for suggestions concerning the text and to indicate his own efforts in bringing it to a completion.
To those who knew Dr. Leavell well and who loved him deeply this work will remain as his challenge to us to preach like the prophets.
J. Wash Watts
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
The importance of preaching cannot be exaggerated.
God-called preachers must fulfill their sacred missions in the pulpit if the Kingdom of GOD is to be advanced. In today's crisis-ridden world and in a nation where paganism is progressing with monstrous strides, the bugle call to a heavenly warfare must be given with no uncertain sound.
There is an ever-increasing displacement of GOD through the idolatry of money-worship and materialistic greed. The nation is suffering from secularism in education, from decay of home life and tragic divorces, from increase in delinquency and crime, from the fearful ravages of the age-old demon of alcoholic drinking, from the sordid sins of sensuality and sexual promiscuity, from mere formality or gross negligence of worship of GOD, from positive agnosticism or practical atheism.
There are no new sins; these sins have just changed their outer garments. No sins have passed away; all the distressing trends of today were prevalent in Old Testament times and denounced by the prophets. The antidote for these social and spiritual diseases is the same as it was then, namely, GOD's Gospel preached by holy men under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
This study of Old Testament preaching has been impelled by a heart full of genuine love for young preachers and genuine prayer for their effectiveness through their sermons. GOD has matched their glorious powers with this challenging hour. False religions, distorted thinking, and corrupt living can be defeated only by sincere worship of the GOD of righteousness and truth, by earnest searching for direction in the infallible Word of GOD, and by the Spirit-guided proclaiming of the Gospel of the Son of GOD.
The ideal of preaching like the Old Testament prophets can be attained very rarely, if ever at all. Shakespeare expressed it strikingly:
"If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do,
chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces."
-Merchant of Venice Act I, Scene ii
But every preacher can commune with GOD like a prophet, can build character like a prophet, can pray like a prophet, can abhor sin like a prophet, can love souls like a prophet, and can try under the Holy Spirit to preach like a prophet.
May Heaven's choice blessings of wisdom, power and grace rest upon every preacher whose ideal is to scale the lofty heights of prophetic preaching.
Roland Q. Leavell