All those that have worked on the CBST deeply believe in "sola Scriptura", that the Scriptures alone are the source of God's authoritative revelation and all that is needed for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). In our world today and even in the church, many would say they are seeking truth, but they are looking for it in the wrong places or finding a truth of their own making. What was true of Israel in Jeremiah's day could aptly be said of many today: For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13).
This problem that we face today is not new. Paul would tell Timothy some 2000 years ago that there would come a time when people would reject both the teachers and the truth of God that they teach and would go after myths. However, before stating the crisis, Paul had already given Timothy a solution (notice the "for" that begins 2 Timothy 4:3), a solution that was simple yet profound. "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" ( 2 Timothy 4:1-2). As we read Paul's final inspired appeal to Timothy, we can still feel the impassioned urgency brought about by his impending death and realization that a day is coming when truth will be rejected, myth will be accepted, and the only solution will be the preaching of the Word of God.
The goal of CBST is to serve Chinese pastors and church leaders by giving them tools to help them accomplish what Paul so long ago urged his disciple Timothy to do. To that end, we have provided resources for sermon preparation, so pastors can be more efficient in their study time and more effective at rightly handling the Word of God each time they preach or teach.
Following in the footsteps of Paul and Timothy are a long line of preachers who have been found faithful in their handling of the truth. As you read the following quotes, be encouraged and renew your commitment to the faithful preaching of God's Word:
John Chrysostom (347-407) You praise what I have said, and receive my exhortation with tumults of applause; but show your approbation by obedience; that is the only praise I seek.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) Let ministers daily pursue their studies with diligence and constantly busy themselves with them …This should be my concern; how others get the truth from me. Studying is my work--the work God wants me to do. And if it pleases Him, He will bless it. (What Luther Says: An Anthology, Vol. 2, p. 927)
William Tyndale (1494-1536) Thou shalt understand, therefore, that the scriptures hath but one sense, which is the literal sense. And that literal sense is the root and ground of all, and the anchor that never faileth, whereunto if thou cleave, thou canst never err or go out of the way (William Tyndale, "The Obedience of a Christian Man," Doctrinal Treatises(Cambridge, 1848) 303-4)
John Calvin (1509-1564) Let us not take it into our heads either to seek out God anywhere else than in his Sacred Word, or to think anything about him that is not prompted by his Word, or to speak anything that is not taken from that Word. (Calvin, Institutes in Christian Classics, 1:13:21 (1, 146))
Puritans Calvin wrote concerning the Puritan ministers, Their whole task is limited to the ministry of God's Word, their whole wisdom to the knowledge of his Word: their whole eloquence, to its proclamation. (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (trans. and annotated by Ford Lewis Battles, reprint of 1536 ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975) 195)
Of the Puritans, Martin Lloyd Jones would say Religion is man searching for God: Christianity is God seeking man, manifesting Himself to him, drawing Himself unto him. This, I believe is at the back of the Puritan idea of placing in the central position the exposition on the Word in preaching. (D. M. Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1987) 380
Richard Baxter (1615-1691) I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) God hath appointed a particular and lively application of his word, in the preaching of it, as a fit means to affect sinners with the importance of religion, their own misery, the necessity of a remedy, and the glory and sufficiency of a remedy provided; to stir up the pure minds of the saints, quicken their affections by often bringing the great things of religion in their remembrance, and setting them in their proper colors, though they know them, and have been fully instructed in them already.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) I do believe we slander Christ when we think we are to draw the people by something else but the preaching of Christ crucified.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) Let this be to you the mark of true gospel preaching - where Christ is everything, and the creature is nothing; where it is salvation all of grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit applying to the soul the precious blood of Jesus.
G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945) The minute we lose our Bible in that regard, we have lost Christ as the final revelation. . . . Every sermon that fails to have some interpretation of that holy truth is a failure. . . . Preaching is not the proclamation of a theory, or the discussion of a doubt. . . . Speculation is not preaching. Neither is the declaration of negations preaching. Preaching is the proclamation of the Word, the truth as the truth has been revealed. (G. Campbell Morgan, Preaching (New York: Revell, 1937) 17-21)
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) To me, the work of preaching is the highest and the greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called. . .I would say without any hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching, it is obviously the greatest need of the world also. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971) 9)
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) Any true definition of preaching must say that that man is there to deliver the message of God, a message from God to those people. If you prefer the language of Paul, he is 'an ambassador for Christ'. That is what he is. He has been sent, he is a commissioned person, and he is standing there as the mouthpiece of God and of Christ to address these people. In other words he is not there merely to talk to them, he is not there to entertain them. (Preaching and Preachers)
James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) Preaching is the primary means of growth for the local church. There is a great deal of debate about this in our day, but it is the preaching of the Word that God most uses to build up a church, not only numerically but above all (and far more importantly) in spiritual depth and understanding of the people who make up the congregation.
John F. MacArthur (1939- ) The Bible is the Word of God. It emanates from the holiness of God. It reflects the mind and the heart and the will of God, and as such, it must be treated with a tremendous amount of respect. The Bible is not to be dealt with flippantly, it is not to be approached with lack of diligence, it is not to be dealt with in a cursory manner, it is to be dealt with tremendous commitment. (John F. MacArthur, "Principles of Expository Preaching" (Audio Tape GC 2001; Panorama City: Word of Grace, 1980) 1)
John Piper (1946- ) If God is not supreme in our preaching, where in this world will the people hear about the supremacy of God? If we do not spread a banquet of God's beauty on Sunday morning, will not our people seek in vain to satisfy their inconsolable longing with the cotton candy pleasures of pastimes and religious hype? If the fountain of living water does not flow from the mountain of God's sovereign grace on Sunday morning, will not the people hew for themselves cisterns on Monday, broken cisterns that can hold no water . . .? (The Supremacy of God in Preaching (Baker, 1990), p. 108-109
John Piper (1946- ) We are called to be "stewards of the mysteries of God." . . . And the great mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." . . . And that glory is the glory of God. And "it is required of stewards that they be found faithful" - faithful in magnifying the supreme glory of the one eternal God, not magnifying as a microscope that makes small things look bigger; but as a telescope that makes unimaginably great galaxies of glory visible to the human eye. (The Supremacy of God in Preaching)
Steven J Lawson (1951- ) The high ground of Christ & Him crucified must be claimed in our preaching. Any other footing is a slippery slope that inevitably descends downward into vain rhetoric and mere words. To the contrary, every pulpit must present a towering vision of the unique person and saving work of Jesus Christ. All preaching must point to His sin-bearing, substitutionary death for sinners. All exposition must lift up this Sacrificial Lamb who became a sin-bearing Substitute for all who believe. Every message must exalt this Christ, who was raised from the dead, exalted to the right hand of God the Father, and entrusted with all authority in heaven and earth."
Steven J Lawson (1951- ) The spiritual life of any congregation and its growth in grace will never exceed the high-water mark set by its pulpit. (The Kind of Preaching God Blesses)