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Friday, April 29, 2016

Struggling

I mentioned the other day that I am reading through Chafer’s Systematic Theology.  At the same time for some different reasons I have been listening to messages from several other speakers.  Some of those speakers, if you are engaged in any way in Kingdom work, you would know, some you would not.
However there is a relatively consistent theme in Chafer’s preface as well as the messages of both the well know and not so well known speakers.  That theme is the elevation of the “preacher” and the centrality of “preaching” to the Christian life.  I have those two words in quotes because it seems that most of our Bibles have mistranslated κηρύσσω (kerusso).  As I have written previously that word has carried the idea of a “herald” for a king who “proclaims” the kings message.  It is in our Bibles that the word family is rendered “preach” or “preacher”.  I heard one of the men to whom I have been listening refer to “preaching” as a spiritual gift.  I have rechecked 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4, neither in Greek or English does either κηρύσσω or preach appear in those lists.

Another said that it was imperative for believers to come to the community to listen to the sermon because in the community there is a different spiritual experience when the sermon is heard in that way.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for this man, but I cannot find any Biblical support for that statement.  Further, the import of the statement is that experiencing a sermon in this way was life changing and a primary means of growth.  To say that I disagree would be – well I do.

As believers we are exhorted by Christ to abide in His Word, John 15:7.  We are told that it is the main way in which we are to grow, 1 Peter 2:1 – 2.  We are told that the Word of God is living and active, Hebrews 4:11 – 12.  It is the expectation that all of us are teachers, Hebrews 5:12 – 14.  We are told that it is the Word of God that makes us adequate in the Christian Life, 2 Timothy 3:14 – 17.  We are told that it is our responsibility to handle the Word of God accurately, 2 Timothy 2:15.

There are those who might say that those passages are aimed at leaders, pastors, etc.  The problem with that is Christ’s command.  In Matthew 28:18 – 20, He commands that disciples, followers of Jesus, are to be taught ALL (emphasis added) that He commands.  Not just those who pay tuition at seminaries.  Not just those who are “ordained”.

Further, in Ephesians 4:11 – 16, Paul explicitly says that the role of leadership in the communities is to equip those in the community.  That continues a theme that he wrote to Timothy, who he sent to Ephesus.  Timothy was to find people he could train to do what Paul trained him to do.  Those people were to do the same, 2 Timothy 2:2.

I do not understand – I am struggling greatly with this – how men who are steeped in the Bible can elevate their 20 or 30 minutes behind a pulpit as more important than those in their care being equipped to dig into the Word of God for themselves.

This has to change.  Those of us who have been through the halls of seminaries have been given much.  Much will be required of us.  It is more important that we equip men to study, and study well, than to tell them what we got out of our study.

It is much harder work to do so.  But it is, at this point, what Ephesians 4:11 – 16 directs.

If I am missing something please let me know.

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