Vol.XVII No.V Pg.5
July 1980

Writing Your Ticket

Robert F. Turner

John Wycliff (1324-1384) may be called the second father of preaching as Restoration preachers knew it. He did much to revive respect for the Bible, and advocated the right of the individual to study, learn, and teach others, without benefit (?) of church "calling" or "sending."

Apparently he was "turned off" of the official "clergy" position by the immoralities and excesses observable among the priests of his day. What he says about the life of the priest may, therefore, be fairly interpreted as the way he felt the "preacher's life" should be. In our day of professionalism, and "clergy position" (whether we call it that or not) his words are again highly provocative. Will we let the 14th century Reformer's words take us back to 1st. century truth?


"If thou art a priest, and by name a curate, live thou a holy life. Pass other men in holy prayer, holy desire; and holy speaking; in counseling and teaching the truth. Ever keep the commandments of God, and let his gospel and his praises be ever in thy mouth. Ever despise sin, that men may be drawn there from, and that thy deeds may be so far rightful, that no man shall blame them with reason.

Let thy open life be thus a true book, in which the soldier and the layman may learn how to serve God and keep his commandments. For the example of a good life, if it be open and continued, striketh rude men much more than open preaching with the word alone. And waste not thy goods in great feasts for rich men, but live a frugal life on poor men's alms and goods. Have both meat, and drink, and clothing, but the remnant give truly to the poor; to those who have freely wrought, but who now may not labour from feebleness and sickness; and thus shalt thou be a true priest both to God and to man." From "Lives of the Reformers," Presbyterian Board of Publications; 1844; p. 15.)


By no means compared nor equated, but to "fill space" with something of like nature; here is a "note" one preacher wrote to himself in 1949.

"I must preach to save souls. To do this, I must convince people they are lost, cause them to desire to be saved, and tell them of Christ, the Way. I must make Christians of them.

But many believe they are Christians who are riot. Therefore I must expose false Christianity. The denominational, sectarian spirit must be replaced with desire for unity in Christ. Popular concepts of many (or just any) faiths, baptisms, etc., must be replaced by the truth of ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, etc.

And Christian principles of love, mercy, honesty, etc., must be instilled in their minds — by precept and example. I must practice these truths myself. I must be unafraid."


Preacher, try writing yourself a note of pledge, dedication and purpose. But let me warn you, it can be very embarrassing when you find and read it, thirty years from now.