A Bit More Preaching, In Pulpit & BeyondDecember 15, 2007
I always appreciate it when people help clarify the articles they write. It is so easy to misread people: to assume what they are arguing and misrepresent them. I therefore wanted to post Gordon Cheng’s further clarifications which he put in our comments section. Below Gordon’s comments, I have added one further observation and also asked him a question (if he has time to answer it!).
Thanks for the link to my post. R.Scott Clark alerted me to his reply on Heidelblog, which I also appreciated and completely agreed with. I also thought, with respect, that it answered a point I wasn’t making. I am a great fan of preaching, having been well taught over the years by Phillip Jensen, Peter Jensen, John Woodhouse and many other fine Sydney evangelical preachers.
(Incidentally, I see that you have the 9 Marks blog listed right up the top of your blogroll. Recently my boss here at Matthias Media, Tony Payne, and Phillip Jensen, spoke at a Matthias Media conference in Washington alongside Mark Dever).
My point is, I think, essentially the same as the one that Richard Baxter makes not only in the quote from *The Reformed Pastor* but also in the whole book. You are no doubt aware that Baxter was a regular and faithful public preacher whose habit was to preach twice weekly to his congregation at Kidderminster.
Like him, I am a regular preacher (I won’t claim to be as regular or as faithful!) at my church, St Paul’s Carlingford in Sydney, where I have been leading one of the congregations in 2007. So I am not at all anti-preaching, any more than Baxter was.
But my point—and I’ve expanded on it in various ways back at my blog—is that all word ministry that is based on the explanation and application of God’s inerrant saving word, the Bible, is equally a way that God uses in a ’sacramental’ sense (not language that I would use, but it may help make the point) to bring grace to us by his Spirit.
I’ve tried to point to some of the biblical arguments for this in my follow-up blog entry, here,which I’ve entitled “OK, a bit more on preaching then.” ;-)
Thanks again for the blog link, and God bless.
PS You can find a slightly more respectable version of both posts, merged into one at the Matthias Media Briefing website.
In the comments section, I then replied as follows:
Thanks for your very helpful clarification on the post. I can now see where you are coming from, and don’t think I would disagree with you on the overall point you are making (promoting non-pulpit Word-ministry). However, one observation and one question.
First, the observation. I’m not sure the best way to frame the point is by saying “a little LESS preaching please.” Perhaps this is simply a deliberately provocative ‘post title’? (Haven’t we all done that to make a point?!) However, might it not be a better approach to talk of ‘elevating’ other word ministries to their rightful place – providing we can substantiate that place from Scripture? With preaching getting such a bad wrap in secular culture (and, in my opinion, in much of evangelicalism) we don’t want to further help its critics by reducing the stock of preaching, even in the language we use.
Second, the question. How practically can the preaching-pastor elevate the importance of other forms of Word-ministry in his church without diminishing his commitment to pulpit preaching?
On another front, I really appreciate your ministry over there with Matthias. I enjoy reading The Briefing and heartily recommend it to others.