The Burden of the Lord is Jesus


Ian MacPherson is fondly remembered as one of the greatest preachers the Apostolic Church has ever produced. He was Principal of the Apostolic Church Bible College in the little Welsh village of Penygroes, yet his preaching had an impact around the world and far beyond the Apostolic Church. 

So what did the great preacher, Pastor MacPherson, have to say about preaching? What did he think preaching really was? Perhaps the great impact of his preaching has something to do with his high theology of preaching. Here's how he defined it:
For what, after all, is [Christian preaching]? In what terms does the New Testament normally and most characteristically refer to its nature and substance? It does not speak about preaching religion: it does not speak about preaching Christianity: surprisingly enough, it does not speak nearly as often as we should have expected about preaching the Gospel. About what, then, does it speak? It speaks about preaching Christ!
Were evidence required it could be adduced in abundance. Is it of the preaching of Peter and the rest of the apostles that it is telling? Here is what it says: 'They ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.' Is it of the ministry of Philip, the evangelist, it is making mention? Here is how it does so: 'Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.' Is it to the message of Saul of Tarsus, suddenly and dramatically converted on the road to Damascus, that it is attracting attention? Here is the record as it sets it down: 'Straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues.'
It cannot too strongly be stressed that the definitive content of the earliest Christian preaching was not a set of ethical rules or a philosophical theory or a social programme: it was not even in the last resort a series of phenomenal events - though it did herald the most astounding happenings! The distinctive content of the earliest Christian preaching may be summed up in one word - Christ!
'Preaching Christ.' That is a pregnant phrase. There is more in it than meets the casual eye. It is not to be equated with mere preaching about Christ... Preaching, in the New Testament sense, is, as we have seen, not preaching about Christ, but preaching Christ Himself...
Christian preaching, therefore, is not the bare utterance of words, however skillfully woven on the loom of literary or oratorical art: it is infinitely more - the communication of the Word, the bearing and the delivery of a burden and that burden the Burden of the Lord, not just the burden which the Lord bestows, but the Burden which the Lord Himself is! Hence preaching is something august, sublime, awe-begetting - a supernatural act, the transmission of a Person through a person to a company of persons, the Person so conveyed being the everlasting Jesus...
The importance of this for the study of preaching is obvious. It regulates and reorientates the whole subject. For, if this be fact, it follows that preaching is not the feeble thing for which all too frequently it passes, but a tremendous thing - nothing less than the communication through the utterance of a consecrated personality of the eternal Christ...
Be quite clear, then, as prospective preachers, where your primary duty lies... Your primary duty lies here: you are to be bearers of the Burden of the Lord. You are to carry Christ to the people...
Wherefore focus all your forces on the central task. Concentrate massively on the main thing. Preach Christ!

From Ian MacPherson, The Burden of the Lord (London: The Epworth Press, 1955), pp.5-9

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The Tenets of the Apostolic Church

The Unity of the Godhead, and Trinity of the Persons therein.

The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.

The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension, and abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His second coming, and millennial reign upon earth.

Justification and Sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.

The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

The Sacraments of Baptism by immersion and of the Lord's Supper.

The Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.

Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.

The possibility of falling from grace.

The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.