Some More From Gordon ChengDecember 20, 2007
“Hi Colin and Scott,
Thanks again for your responses. Yes, the title was provocative, but I’m not sure I want to elevate preaching just *because* our culture tends to denigrate it. I’m not persuaded that the New Testament itself puts pulpit preaching as a word ministry of greater value than any other, and I’m trying to reflect that in my thoughts on the blog (I’ve just posted another Baxter quote, by the way, see:
If you were going to elevate one particular word ministry as more important, wouldn’t it be apostleship? All our other word ministries are, after all, dedicating to highlighting, explaining, and applying the apostolic word above all others (I include the NT gospels as an apostolic word, by the way, on the grounds of John 14:26).
As to your 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?
By recognizing their complementary nature, as Baxter does. If I meet people one-to-one, I will be a more effective preacher. If other people in the congregation (elders) run better Bible studies, the Sunday sermonizing will have greater impact. And so on. You don’t have to sacrifice the one to build up the other, although sometimes I think we could do with slightly less well-crafted sermon because the minister was too busy trying to meet with and help support Bible study leaders (for example).
Thanks for your kind comments about the Briefing! And God bless your blogging, which is a word ministry in its own right.
Scott: I don’t really agree with any of the assumptions you are imputing to me, so I am more than happy for you to criticize them, as they represent someone else’s position. As far as I am concerned, the New Testament is perfectly clear that some of the believers are set apart for specific roles as elders and teachers, and that should be the norm in our churches today.
(On Ephesians 4, I wonder if you have paid enough attention to the Jew-
Gentile question? Not that this is fundamental to our discussion, but I believe it is fundamental to Ephesians in general and Ephesians 4 in particular).”
The context for Gordon Cheng’s latest response is a series of previous posts: A Bit Less Preaching Please?, A Bit More Preaching in Pulpit and Beyond and What’s the Big Deal About Preaching? (R Scott Clark)