This weekend I was planning to be at UCCF’s Biblical Evangelism Conference, which I believe is essentially a weekend of training on giving evangelistic talks from the Bible (though the snow meant I ended up not going). In keeping with that, I though it might be worth commenting on two quotes I came across a while ago from quite different sources.
The first is from a BBC interview which Mark Lawson conducted with Sir Michael Caine. At one point (3:42 into the linked clip) Michael Caine says
If the audience is sitting there saying ‘Oh, isn’t Michael Caine a wonderful actor!’ then I’ve done it all wrong. They should be saying ‘I wonder what’s gonna happen to Harry Brown now?’
Michael Caine wants to be transparent, a mere window into the character he is portraying. His only intention is to reveal to us Harry Brown. There is a strong parallel with how Jesus lived, perfectly revealing His Father.
As I and others learn about giving evangelistic talks, this is how we need to speak. We are not to point to ourselves, but to another. If the audience is sitting there saying ‘Oh, isn’t Tim a wonderful speaker!’ then I’ve done it all wrong.
During the 1880s a group of American ministers visited England, prompted especially by a desire to hear some of celebrated preachers of that land.
On a Sunday morning they attended the City Temple where Dr. Joseph Parker was the pastor. Some two thousand people filled the building, and Parker’s forceful personality dominated the service. His voice was commanding, his language descriptive, his imagination lively, and his manner animated. The sermon was scriptural, the congregation hung upon his words, and the Americans came away saying, “What a wonderful preacher is Joseph Parker!”
In the evening they went to hear Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. The building was much larger than the City Temple, and the congregation was more than twice the size. Spurgeon’s voice was much more expressive and moving and his oratory noticeably superior. But they soon forgot all about the great building, the immense congregation, and the magnificent voice. They even overlooked their intention to compare the various features of the two preachers, and when the service was over they found themselves saying, “What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus Christ!”
Spurgeon: a new biography by Arnold Dallimore, p216