Thursday, November 25, 2010

Preaching: what it is and what it isn't

A minister who preaches on the authority and infallibility of Scripture is often accused of being arrogant, said one pastor. Such criticism, however, is withheld from someone who sits on a stool in a cardigan and chats with the congregation, telling personal stories.

Criticizing the latter form, Doug Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, made the case for the preacher who declares "thus saith the Lord."

"A minister should ascend into the pulpit in order to declare what would have been true had he never been born. He is there to preach what was written in the Word before all ages and is utterly disconnected from his personal dreams, hopes and aspirations," Wilson said at the Desiring God Ministries' national conference in Minneapolis on Saturday. "A minister is not up there to develop a relationship with everybody individually."

Ministers are not supposed to be extemporaneous actors trying to figure out their lines from everything other than the Bible, he noted. They may maintain that their scripts are better, their plot lines are grittier or that their shows make more money, but a minister's script is Scripture, Wilson stressed.

"He is there to declare something that is outside of his control. What God has revealed to us in the Bible is the message. That's the script."

"The Bible is not that which meets the standard. The Bible is that which sets the standard," Wilson emphasized. "The Scriptures are not a possession of ours which we may put into the world's balances to be weighed. Rather, the Scriptures are God's scales in which He places the entire world and all the nations of men."

The role of preachers then is to declare the necessity of hearing the Word of God, he highlighted. They were not sent to make a few mild suggestions, dialogue with the world and tell the world that it's quite right, or to indulge in a few postmodern dabblings of a theological nature, he noted. Rather, they were sent to "declare what has been accomplished" and not what they would like to have accomplished.

-Lillian Kwon, reporting on this year's Desiring God Conference for the The Christian Post

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