True Preaching in The Christian Recorder 1861

The Christian Recorder is the oldest existing black periodical in America, and the only one in the United States whose existence dated before the Civil War. It had its genesis in the Christian Herald, which was established by the General Conference that was held in Philadelphia in 1848. The Christian Herald was a published weekly and subscribers paid one dollar and fifty cents a year.

The name of the Christian Herald was changed to The Christian Recorder at the Ninth Quadrennial Session of the General Conference that was held in 1852 in New York City. The first issue was published and disseminated on July 1, 1852.

The first editor of The Christian Recorder was the Reverend M. M. Clark, who was one of the first college graduates in the A.M.E. Church. Clark was a graduate of Jefferson College and was considered to be one of the best-educated men in the A.M.E. Church. He wrote that the Recorder’s focus would be religion, morality, science and literature and it was to treat all geographical areas of the A.M.E. Church equally.

True Preaching

The three most remarkable points in the public ministry of Christ are these:

  1. He deals with living beings more than with abstract ideas.
  2. He puts himself on a level with his audience.
  3. He puts himself in the back-ground.

Of these the last will be universally applauded; it is the one which will be the least followed. Here is my cause of dread; here is what may indeed render useless all I have written. Will preachers consent to relinquish the indulgence of petty vanity, in view of the welfare of immortal souls?

This important question may be addressed to two classes; those who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God, and those who have not. I shall conclude by a word to each, beginning with the last.

Under pretext of preaching Christ, you preach yourselves. You are anxious people should say how well he speaks, how eloquent he is; this is the motive of your pulpit harangues. Let me tell you plainly you will never succeed. Your attempts will deceive no one. Even were you to adopt a simple, natural air, your auditors would immediately discern it was affected, and you would be none the less an actor to them. You are taking means to accomplish the very opposite of what you wish, you are inducing people, not to admire, but to criticize you, though possibly to you personally they may pretend an occasional compliment. Then what is to be done?

Simply yield yourselves up to God; you must realize your sin and condemnation before Him, and receive the free salvation of Christ; in a word, you must take to yourselves seriously the advice you have been long giving with too little seriousness to others, you must be converted.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Christian Recorder
Date: August 10, 1861
Title: True Preaching
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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